Numidotheriidae

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Numidotheriidae
Temporal range: Late Paleocene–Early Eocene
Conservation status
Fossil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Numidotheriidae
Shoshani & Tassy, 1992
Genus

Numidotheriidae is an extinct family of primitive proboscidean that lived from the late Paleocene to the early Eocene periods of North Africa.

Fragmentary fossils (mainly teeth) of the early Eocene genera, Daouitherium and Phosphatherium have been found in the Ouled Abdun Basin, Morocco. Numidotherium is known from an almost complete skeleton from late early Eocene deposits in southern Algeria and Libya. Compared to modern elephants, the Numidotheriidae were quite small. Phosphatherium for instance was only 60 cm long and weighted approximately 15 kg. Numidotherium was about 1 m in length. They occupied a similar ecological niche than the modern hippopotamus and the related early proboscid Moeritherium, feeding on soft aquatic plants in marshy environments. Numidotheriidae are not believed to be direct ancestors of modern elephants, but a collateral branch.