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Temporal range: Middle Miocene to Late Miocene
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Hippopotamidae
Subfamily: Kenyapotaminae
Genus: Kenyapotamus
Pickford, 1983[1]

K. coryndoni and
K. ternani

Kenyapotamus is a possible ancestor of living hippopotamuses that lived in Africa roughly 16 million to 8 million years ago during the Miocene epoch. Its name reflects that its fossils were first found in modern-day Kenya.

Although little is known about Kenyapotamus, its dental pattern bore similarities to that of the genus Xenohyus, a European suid from the Early Miocene. This led some scientists to conclude that hippopotami were most closely related to modern peccaries and suids.[2]

Recent molecular research has suggested that hippopotamuses are more closely related to cetaceans than to other artiodactyls. A morphological analysis of fossil artiodactyls and whales, which also included Kenyapotamus, strongly supported a relationship between hippos and the anatomically similar family Anthracotheriidae. Two archaic whales (Pakicetus and Artiocetus) formed the sister group of the hippopotamid-anthracotheriid clade, but this relationship was weakly supported.[3]


  1. ^ Pickford, Martin (1983). "On the origins of Hippopotamidae together with descriptions of two new species, a new genus and a new subfamily from the Miocene of Kenya". Geobios. Lyon. 16 (2): 193–217. doi:10.1016/S0016-6995(83)80019-9.
  2. ^ Petronio, C. (1995): Note on the taxonomy of Pleistocene hippopotamuses. Ibex 3: 53-55. PDF fulltext Archived 2008-09-12 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Boisserie, Jean-Renaud; Fabrice Lihoreau; Michel Brunet (February 2005). "The position of Hippopotamidae within Cetartiodactyla". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 102 (5): 1537–1541. Bibcode:2005PNAS..102.1537B. doi:10.1073/pnas.0409518102. PMC 547867. PMID 15677331. Retrieved 2007-06-09.