did not resemble its later cousins--it was somewhat larger than a modern-day tapir, but with short legs, a relatively long body, and a short tail.
Creatures in the proboscidean genus Moeritherium have been known for more than a century, but scientists have never agreed about how the animals lived, says Alexander G.
The shapes of Moeritherium skulls, placement of their eyes and other features hint that the 300-kilogram animals lived aquatic or semiaquatic lifestyles.
Liu and his colleagues weighed in on the debate by analyzing the ratio of oxygen-16 and oxygen-18 isotopes preserved in the teeth of Moeritherium fossils.
Other creatures featured in this show include Andrewsarchus, a one-ton, wolf-like mammal with a devastating 3ft-long jaw; herds of Bronththere, big herbivores that spread across the northern hemisphere; and Moeritherium
, an early type of elephant that looks more like a large aquatic pig, living in the mangrove swamps.