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Temporal range: Miocene, 15–4 Ma
Skeleton exhibited at Hubei province
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Gomphotheriidae
Tribe: Amebelodontini
Genus: Platybelodon
Borissiak, 1928
  • P. danovi Borissiak, 1928 (type)
  • P. grangeri Osborn, 1929
  • P. loomisi (Barbour, 1929)
  • P. barnumbrowni (Barbour, 1931)

Platybelodon ("flat-spear tusk") was a genus of large herbivorous mammal related to the elephant (order Proboscidea). It lived during the Miocene Epoch, about 15-4 million years ago, and ranged over Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. Although it thrived during its time, it did not survive past the Miocene.


Restoration of P. grangeri
P. grangeri skull

Platybelodon was very similar to Amebelodon, another, closely related gomphothere genus. Due to the shape of the two lower teeth, which are worn by many gomphothere genera (such as Platybelodon, Archaeobelodon, and Amebelodon), they are popularly known as "shovel tuskers."


Platybelodon was previously believed to have fed in the swampy areas of grassy savannas, using its teeth to shovel up aquatic and semi-aquatic vegetation. However, wear patterns on the teeth suggest that it used its lower tusks to strip bark from trees, and may have used the sharp incisors that formed the edge of the "shovel" more like a modern-day scythe, grasping branches with its trunk and rubbing them against the lower teeth to cut it from a tree.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lambert, W.D. (1992). "The feeding habits of the shovel-tusked gomphotheres: evidence from tusk wear patterns." Paleobiology, 18(2): 132-147.
  • Barry Cox, Colin Harrison, R.J.G. Savage, and Brian Gardiner. (1999): The Simon & Schuster Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures: A Visual Who's Who of Prehistoric Life. Simon & Schuster.
  • Jordi Agusti and Mauricio Anton. (2002): Mammoths, Sabertooths, and Hominids. Pg.90, Columbia University Press.
  • Jayne Parsons.(2001): Dinosaur Encyclopedia. Pg.260, Dorling Kindersley.
  • David Norman. (2001): The Big Book Of Dinosaurs. Pg.420-421, Welcome Books.
  • Hazel Richardson.(2003): Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals (Smithsonian Handbooks). Pg.173, Dorling Kindersley.

External links[edit]