From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Temporal range: Palaeocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Genus: Eritherium
Gheerbrant 2009

Eritherium is an extinct genus of early Proboscidean. It was discovered in Morocco.[1] It was first named by Emmanuel Gheerbrant in 2009 and the type species is Eritherium azzouzorum.[1] Eritherium is the oldest, smallest and most primitive known elephant relative.[1]

The phosphate bed where the remains were found places the animal's age as 61.1 to 57.8 million years ago.

Eritherium is the oldest known representative of the Proboscideans. It has not been assigned to any family in the order. Eritherium is the sister clade to Phosphatherium, Numidotherium and Moeritherium. This is one of the most complete evolutionary sequences of early mammalian radiations after the K/T extinction event. Thus, the elephants are one of the oldest "modern" mammal orders to have survived.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Emmanuel Gheerbrant (2009). "Paleocene emergence of elephant relatives and the rapid radiation of African ungulates". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) 106 (26): 10717–10721. doi:10.1073/pnas.0900251106 . PMC 2705600 . PMID 19549873 .