Palaeotheriidae


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Palaeotheriidae

[¦pāl·ē·ō·thə′rī·ə‚dē]
(paleontology)
An extinct family of perissodactylous mammals in the superfamily Equoidea.

Palaeotheriidae

 

a family of extinct mammals of the order Perissodactyla. Remains of Palaeotheriidae are known from Eocene and Oligocene deposits. The size of palaeotheres ranged from that of a wild boar to a small rhinoceros. The animals varied greatly in appearance, but most of them closely resembled the tapir. The skull was short and low. The molars had a low crown; the premolars resembled the molars. The short, massive legs were tridactyl, with lateral digits that were somewhat shorter than the middle one.

There were about ten genera of palaeotheres, distributed in Eurasia. They lived near water and fed on soft vegetation. Their origin was related to that of ancient horses. The animals are of interest in the study of mammalian evolution.

References in periodicals archive ?
1993a): Los Palaeotheriidae (Perissodactyla, Mammalia) del Eoceno de la Cuenca del Duero (Castilla y Leon, Espana).