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Deinotherium

Deinotherium chasing Australopithecus

Deinotherium chasing Australopithecus. Scene from "Walking with Beasts"

An oversized elephant-like creature called Deinotherium was the second largest land mammal that ever lived on our planet. Only Indricothere was even larger. They were huge, with males standing up to four meters at the shoulder and weighing more than ten tons. Their trunk was probably not as long as modern day elephants and it had downward curving tusks that were attached to their lower jaw. These were probably used to strip bark from trees and dig up bulbs and tubers. As elephants today, they were herbivorous. Their brain cavity was smaller than the more advanced elephants of today, suggesting that they were not as intelligent. They were a distinct line of proboscideans that had diverged from our modern day elephants probably quite early in the history of the group as a whole. There were several species of Deinotherium that inhabited parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. Many fossils have been found in East Africa at Hadar, Laetoli, Olduvai Gorge and Lake Turkana. Of all the lines of proboscideans, only elephants have survived up to the present day. (26)