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Temporal range: Early Miocene–Middle Miocene
Gomphotherium productum.jpg
Specimen of G. productum (AMNH)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Gomphotheriidae
Genus: Gomphotherium
Burmeister, 1837
  • Trilophodon
    Falconer and Cautley, 1846
  • Tetrabelodon
    Cope, 1884
  • Serridentinus
    Osborn, 1923
  • Tatabelodon
    Frick 1933

Gomphotherium (/ˌɡɒmfəˈθɪəriəm/; "welded beast") is an extinct genus of proboscids from the Neogene and early Pleistocene of Eurasia, Africa, North America and possibly also Asia.[2]


G. productum is known from a 35-year-old male 2.51 m (8 ft 3 in) tall weighing 4.6 t (4.5 long tons; 5.1 short tons). Even larger is G. steinheimense, known from a complete 37-year-old male found in Mühldorf, Germany, which is 3.17 m (10.4 ft) tall and weighed 6.7 t (6.6 long tons; 7.4 short tons).[3] It had four tusks, two on the upper jaw and two on the elongated lower jaw. The lower tusks are parallel and shaped like a shovel and were probably used for digging up food from mud.[citation needed] Unlike modern elephants, the upper tusks were covered by a layer of enamel. Compared to elephants, the skull was more elongated and low, indicating that the animal had a short trunk, rather like a tapir's.[citation needed] These animals probably lived in swamps or near lakes, using their tusks to dig or scrape up aquatic vegetation.[citation needed] In comparison to earlier proboscids, Gomphotherium had far fewer molars; the remaining ones had high ridges to expand their grinding surfaces. Gomphotherium spp. inhabited dry wooded regions near lakes.[citation needed]


The following cladogram shows the placement of the genus Gomphotherium among other proboscideans, based on hyoid characteristics:[4]

Mammut americanum (American mastodon)

Gomphotherium sp.

Stegodon zdanskyi

Loxodonta africana (African elephant)

Elephas maximus (Asian elephant)

Mammuthus columbi (Columbian mammoth)


  1. ^ Wang, Shi-Qi; Li, Yu; Duangkrayom, Jaroon; Yang, Xiang-Wen; He, Wen; Chen, Shan-Qin (2017). "A new species of Gomphotherium (Proboscidea, Mammalia) from China and the evolution of Gomphotherium in Eurasia". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 37 (3): e1318284. doi:10.1080/02724634.2017.1318284.
  2. ^ Wang, Wei; Liao, Wei; Li, Dawei; Tian, Feng (1 July 2014). "Early Pleistocene large-mammal fauna associated with Gigantopithecus at Mohui Cave, Bubing Basin, South China". Quaternary International. 354: 122–130. Bibcode:2014QuInt.354..122W. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.06.036. ISSN 1040-6182.
  3. ^ Larramendi, A. (2016). "Shoulder height, body mass and shape of proboscideans" (PDF). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 61. doi:10.4202/app.00136.2014.
  4. ^ Shoshani, J.; Tassy, P. (2005). "Advances in proboscidean taxonomy & classification, anatomy & physiology, and ecology & behavior". Quaternary International. 126–128: 5–20. Bibcode:2005QuInt.126....5S. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2004.04.011.