Cuvieronius, illustration

Cuvieronius, illustration

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Credit: MICHAEL LONG/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cuvieronius, illustration. Cuvieronius is an extinct New World genus of gomphothere. It stood 2.7 metres tall and looked like a modern elephant, except for its spiral-shaped tusks. This animal initially evolved in North America about 10 million years ago in the Pliocene. During the Great American interchange of around 3 million years ago, Cuvieronius and two species of its sister genus Stegomastodon moved south into South America. They were the only proboscid mammals to colonize South America.

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