Barytherium

Name: Barytherium ‭(‬Heavy beast‭)‬.
Phonetic: Bah-ree-fee-re-um.
Named By:‭ ‬C.W.‭ ‬Andrews‭ ‬-‭ ‬1901.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Proboscidea,‭ ‬Barytheriidae.
Species: B.‭ ‬grave‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Around‭ ‬3‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Egypt,‭ ‬Libya,‭ ‬Oman.
Time period: Priabonian of the Eocene to Rupelian of the Oligocene.
Fossil representation: Remains of many individuals,‭ ‬though to varying levels of completeness.

       Barytherium was a prehistoric elephant quite unlike modern day varieties.‭ ‬The key difference is that of the tusks,‭ ‬there were two pairs in both upper and lower jaws.‭ ‬The tusks of the upper jaws pointed out to the sides while the lower pair pointed forwards.‭ ‬Popular thinking is that these were feeding adaptations suited for shearing plants before they were processed by the rear teeth.‭ ‬Later elephants such as gomphotheres like Gomphotherium would develop this arrangement even further,‭ ‬though with a reduced number of tusks‭ (‬four as opposed to eight).
       The shape of the skull indicates that Barytherium had a proboscis‭ (‬trunk‭)‬,‭ ‬though in all likely hood it was probably short.‭ ‬This is because long trunks are pretty much unknown in very primitive elephants,‭ ‬and the adaptations for trunk attachment to the skull are not as well refined as they are in later forms.



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