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Temporal range: 55–28 Ma
Early Eocene to early Oligocene
Palaeotherium curtum skull.JPG
Palaeotherium curtum skull
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Palaeotheriidae

Palaeotheriidae is an extinct family of herbivorous perissodactyl mammals related to tapirs and rhinoceros, and probably ancestral to horses. They ranged across Europe and Asia during the Eocene through Oligocene 55—28 Ma, existing for approximately 27 million years.[citation needed]

Living in dense forests, they ate soft leaves, shoots, berries, and leaf matter picked up from the forest floor.


Plagiolophus annectens jaw
Propalaeotherium hassiacum - Naturmuseum Senckenberg - DSC02245.JPG

Palaeothere sizes ranged from 20 to 75 cm (8 to 30 in) at the shoulder, and weighed an estimated 10–30 kg (20–70 lb).[1]

Fossil distribution[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ S. Legendre. 1988. Les communautes de mammiferes du Paleogene (Eocene superieur et Oligocene) d'Europe occidentale: structure, milieux et evolution. Ph.D. thesis, Universite des Sciences et Techniques du Languedoc, Montpellier, France. 2 volumes. 1-265