Gomphotheriidae

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Gomphotheriidae
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Mammalia
Sub-class Theria
Infra-class Eutheria
Order Information
Order Proboscidea
Family Information
Family Gomphotheriidae
Population statistics

Gomphotheriidae is an extinct family of elephant-like mammals of the order Proboscidea, differentiated from elephants by the presence of an elongated lower jaw, which in most species bore a second pair of tusks.

Description

Superficially, gomphotheres looked like elephants, i.e. massive bodies, pillar-like legs, and a head bearing an elongated proboscis and tusks. The major difference was the layout of the skull. The lower jaw was extremely elongated and in most species had a pair of short tusks jutting from the end; these tusks were close to each other in the jaw and could probably be used as a shovel. The skull also bore a pair of larger tusks, which pointed either forward or downward; they were probably covered by a portion of the trunk, something not seen in the elephants of today. The trunk itself is theorized to have been short, and not extending much further than the tips of tips of the lower tusks.

A conspicuous group is formed by the Amebelodontidae, a group of gomphotheres which are also considered to be an independent family. In them, the two lower tusks are flattened to form a shovel with which the animals probably dug into the muddy soil of water bodies. Well-known representatives of these "shovel tusker" elephants are Platybelodon from Africa and Asia as well as the American Amebelodon.

References