Fact File:    Deinotherium       20-2 million years ago
Pronunciation: dy-noh-THEER-ee-um
Latin name: Deinotherium bozasi
Meaning: "terrible beast"
Animal Type: Mammal - deinothere family
Dietary Type: Herbivorous - Browsed vegetation and stripped bark
Closest Living Relative: Elephants
Size: Males 4m at the shoulder, females 3.5m
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Fossil Finds:

Deinotherium remains, particularly their tusks and teeth have been found at the major hominid excavation sites including Hadar, Laetoli, Olduvai Gorge and Lake Turkana.


The deinotheres were the gigantic cousins of the elephants and flourished at the time of Australopithecus. Tusks in the elephant family varied in shape and size as they adapted for different purposes. Wear marks on the downward curved tusks of Deinotherium suggest that they were probably used for stripping tree bark.

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