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Deinotherium Zdenek Burian

Illustration of Deinotherium by Zdenek Burian.

Deinotheres were a group of prehistoric elephants of the family Deinotheriidae, which lived in Africa, Asia, and Europe from the Oligocene until at least the early Pleistocene. There were only three genera, which differed mostly in size and form an evolutionary line. Although believed to have gone extinct before the last ice age, some have suggested that a genus of deinothere may still survive in Africa.

French explorer M. Le Petit and zoologist Emile Gromier suggested that the Rothschild tusk came from a living deinothere in 1911, but Rothschild and Neuville, who discovered the tusk, discounted this possibility in their paper describing it. Le Petit and Gromier planned an expedition to Lake Chad to search for a living deinothere.[1]

Although some cryptozoologists, as well as Le Petit and Gromier, have speculated that the water elephants reported from the Congo could be living deinotheres, Karl Shuker notes that the short, squat water elephants bear little resemblance to Deinotherium.[2]

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