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Temporal range: Late Paleocene–Early Oligocene
Scientific classification

Shoshani & Tassy, 1992

Numidotheriidae is an extinct family of primitive proboscidean that lived from the late Paleocene to the early Oligocene periods of North Africa.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

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 weighed about 15 kg. Numidotherium was about 1 m in length. They occupied a similar ecological niche to the modern hippopotamus and the related early proboscid Moeritherium, feeding on soft, aquatic plants in marshy environments. The Numidotheriidae are not believed to be direct ancestors of modern elephants, but a collateral branch.


  1. ^ N. Court. 1995. A new species of Numidotherium (Mammalia, Proboscidea) from the Eocene of Libya and the early phylogeny of the Proboscidea. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 15(3):650-671.
  2. ^ C. Delmer. 2009. Reassessment of the generic attribution of Numidotherium savagei and the homologies of lower incisors in proboscideans. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 54(4):561-580
  3. ^ Gheerbrant, E.; Sudre, J.; Cappetta, H.; Iarochène, M.; Amaghzaz, M.; Bouya, B. (2002). "A new large mammal from the Ypresian of Morocco: Evidence of surprising diversity of early proboscideans" (PDF). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 47 (3): 493–506.
  4. ^ Mahboubi, M.; Ameur, R.; Crochet, J.−Y.; Jaeger, J.−J. (1986). "El Kohol (Saharan Atlas, Algeria): A new Eocene mammals locality in North Western Africa". Palaeontographica. 192 (1–3): 15–49. Retrieved May 2013
  5. ^ Gheerbrant, E.; Sudre, J.; Cappetta, H. (1996). "A Palaeocene proboscidean from Morocco". Nature. 383 (6595): 68–71. doi:10.1038/383068a0.
  6. ^ Seiffert, Erik R. (2007). "A new estimate of afrotherian phylogeny based on simultaneous analysis of genomic, morphological, and fossil evidence". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 7: 224. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-7-224. PMC 2248600. PMID 17999766.