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Temporal range: Late Oligocene
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Genus: Eritreum
Species: E. melakeghebrekristosi
Binomial name
Eritreum melakeghebrekristosi
Shoshani et al. 2006[1]

Eritreum melakeghebrekristosi is an extinct species of proboscidean mammal, which lived in Northeast Africa during the late Oligocene some 27 million years ago, and is considered to be the missing link between modern elephants and their ancestors. The fossils of this species are the oldest known fossils featuring the horizontal tooth displacement seen in modern elephants. The species is estimated to have weighed 484 kg (1,067 lb) and stood about 1.3 m (4.3 ft) at the shoulder, much smaller than modern species. The name Eritreum comes from the name Eritrea a country in the Horn of Africa where the specimen was discovered, and melakeghebrekristosi in honor of the farmer, Melake Ghebrekristos, who found the specimen.


  1. ^ J. Shoshani, R. C. Walter, M. Abraha, S. Berhe, P. Tassy, W. J. Sanders, G. H. Marchant, Y. Libsekal, T. Ghirmai and D. Zinner. 2006. A proboscidean from the late Oligocene of Eritrea, a "missing link" between early Elephantiformes and Elephantimorpha, and biogeographic implications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103(46): 17296-17301