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Temporal range: Late Oligocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Suborder: Deinotheroidea
Family: Deinotheriidae
Subfamily: Chilgatheriinae
Sanders, Kappelman & Rasmussen, 2004
Genus: Chilgatherium
Species: C. harrisi
Sanders, Kappelman & Rasmussen, 2004
Binomial name
Chilgatherium harrisi
Sanders, Kappelman & Rasmussen, 2004

Chilgatherium ("Chilga Beast" after the locality in which it was found) is the earliest and most primitive representative of the family Deinotheriidae. It is known from late Oligocene (27 to 28 million years old)-aged fossil teeth found in the Ethiopian district of Chilga. So far, only a number of molar teeth have been found, but these are distinct enough that this animal can be identified with confidence. The teeth differ from those of Prodeinotherium, Deinotherium, and the various barytheres in various details, enough to show that this is a distinct type of animal, and has been placed in its own subfamily. Compared to later deinotheres, Chilgatherium was quite small, about 2 m (6.6 ft) tall at the shoulder and weighed about 1.5 t (1.7 short tons).[1] It is not known if it shared the distinctive downward-curving tusks on the lower jaw that the later deinotheres had.

Chilgatherium disappears prior to the Early Miocene, where Prodeinotherium occurs instead.


  1. ^ Larramendi, A. (2016). "Shoulder height, body mass and shape of proboscideans" (PDF). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 61. doi:10.4202/app.00136.2014. 
  • Gugliotta, Guy (2003) Six New Species of Prehistoric Mammals Discovered in Africa Find Proves Elephants Originated on Continent, Scientist Says, Washington Post, Thursday, December 4, 2003; Page A02
  • Sanders, W.J., Kappelman, J. & Rasmussen, D. T., (2004), New large-bodied mammals from the late Oligocene site of Chilga, Ethiopia. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica Vol. 49, no.3, pp. 365–392 pdf