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A proboscidean from the late Oligocene of Eritrea, a "missing link" between early Elephantiformes and Elephantimorpha, and biogeographic implications.

The teeth of the newly described Eritreum melakeghebrekristosi are a tip-off to its position as a missing link in the elephant family tree. Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan.
The teeth of the newly described Eritreum melakeghebrekristosi are a tip-off to its position as a missing link in the elephant family tree. Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan.


2006-11-03 - Asmara, Eritrea , Shoshani J, Walter RC, Abraha M, Berhe S, University of Asmara

We report on a late Oligocene proboscidean species from Eritrea, dated to 26.8 +/- 1.5 Mya. This "missing link" between early elephantiformes and Elephantimorpha is the oldest known nongomphothere proboscidean to probably display horizontal tooth displacement, typical of elephants. Together with the newly discovered late Oligocene gomphotheres from Chilga, Ethiopia, the Eritrean taxon points to the importance of East Africa as a major area for the knowledge of the early evolution of Elephantimor...



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