Period of life:
Eastern Europe, North Caucasus, Northern China, USA, Canada
Platybelodon is an extinct genus of proboscideans lived in the Miocene epoch on the territory of ancient Africa and Eurasia about 15 million years ago. They were discovered for the first time by Russian scientists in 1926 during excavations in the North Caucasus. Platybelodons were fairly large animals for their time. The body length was about 6 meters, and the height was up to 2.5 m. The weight of prehistoric elephants varied, depending on the habitat, sometimes reaching up to 4 tons. The lower jaw of the mastodon protruded far forward and ended with flat fused incisors, which gave it the shape of a shovel. According to the original version, this feature was used to rake vegetation in shallow reservoirs, covering it with the upper lip. However, microdamage on the lower incisors allowed scientists to speculate that this "shovel" was used to cut the bark of trees. The animal resembles a modern elephant and hippopotamus at once. It is related to the first by external signs, for example, the presence of four tusks, and to the second - the size and possible semi-aquatic lifestyle.