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(vertebrate zoology)
An order of herbivorous placental mammals characterized by having a proboscis, incisors enlarged to become tusks, and pillarlike legs with five toes bound together on a broad pad.



an order of mammals. The earliest representatives of the order Proboscidea were relatively small animals; later ones were larger, reaching a height of 4.5 m. The legs are long and columnar. The forelegs are five-toed, and the hind legs are four- or five-toed. The neck is short, and the head almost immovable. The highly developed upper lip and the nose concresce to form the movable proboscis, or trunk. In the earliest representatives the proboscis was very small or apparently absent. The dental system is characterized by the absence of canines (except in Moeritherium) and first incisors. The highly developed second incisors (tusks) are marked by constant growth. The molars have broad chewing surfaces that are nodular or have transverse ridges, sometimes with plates. The teeth are formed from dentine and enamel; only in elephants and some mastodonts is cement deposited between the ridges or plates.

The oldest Proboscidea are known from Africa, where their remains have been found in Middle Eocene deposits. Proboscidea were subsequently widely distributed in Africa, Eurasia, and America. At present they are found only in Africa and South Asia. Most species inhabited tropical rain forests; some were apparently semi-aquatic. Only elephants were adapted to life in diverse environments—forests, forest steppes, steppes, and tundra. There are three suborders: Moeritherioidea, Elephantoidea, and Deinotherioidea. The first and third suborders are extinct.

Elephantoidea include three families: Gomphotheriidae, Mastodontidae, and Elephantidae. Extant species belong only to the last family.


Osnovy paleontologii: Mlekopitaiushchie. Moscow, 1962.
Osborn, H. F. Proboscidea: A Monograph of the Discovery, Evolution, Migration and Extinction of the Mastodonts and Elephants of the World, vols. 1–2. New York, 1936–42.


References in periodicals archive ?
Several researchers have published reports on locality records and the distribution of proboscideans in Michigan (Dice 1920; Hay 1923; MacAlpin 1940; Skeels 1962; Holman et al.
In conclusion, I would agree with Shott and Wright (1999) in the sense that evidence for human butchering of proboscideans in Michigan is convincing, but that it is not yet clear whether these early hunters contributed significantly to their extinction.
Barytherium is a genus of an extinct family (Barytheriidae) of primitive proboscidean that lived during the late Eocene and early Oligocene ages in North Africa.
This introductory section also features a proboscidean family tree with touchable scale models of family members, including a woolly mammoth, a Columbian mammoth, and an American mastodon.
Advances in proboscidean taxonomy & classification, anatomy & physiology, and ecology & behavior.
The past sixty-odd years of proboscidean study in Michigan have been especially important, because during this interval efforts have shifted from the collection, recording, and exhibition of large mastodont and mammoth remains to an attempt to answer many biological questions about them.
The mass proboscidean die-off was part of the mysterious and more general Pleistocene extinctions.
The Mountain Breeze Site (L-3752) was identified by a portion of the articular end of a proboscidean long bone (NMMNH 27704) eroding out of an arroyo wall near Nogal, New Mexico (UTM coordinates 3711660N, 434880E).
After this third bioevents the rhinocerotoids, anthracotherids, proboscideans, carnivores, chalicotheres, deinotheres, bovids, suids, Creodonta, ruminantia, amynodontiae, and crocodilians were found in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent.
The Siwalik Group rocks constituting the Sub-Himalayan hill ranges have long been known to yield rich Neogene to Quaternary vertebrate fossil assemblages that represent dominantly mammalians fauna of multiple lineages, including rodents, artiodactyls, perissodactyls, proboscideans, carnivores and occasionally but of critical significance hominoid primates (Barry et al.
Pleistocene proboscideans and Michigan salt deposits.