Temporal range: Palaeocene
Eritherium is an extinct genus of early Proboscidean. It was discovered in Morocco. It was first named by Emmanuel Gheerbrant in 2009 and the type species is Eritherium azzouzorum. Eritherium is the oldest, smallest and most primitive known elephant relative.
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]
- 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. . . . http://www.pnas.org/content/106/26/10717.full.