Moeritherium (name meaning "Beast from Lake Moeris") is a genus of primitive proboscidean that originated during the Late Eocene epoch in what is now Africa and South Asia. Related to modern elephants, this prehistoric mammal was a combination of an elephant and a hippopotamus.
In the episode "Big Blue Killer Whale", a number of four Moeritherium were brought to the park from the Late Eocene 36 million years ago. They reside in an enclosure used for hippos.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Moeritherium lived in Africa and South Asia during the Late Eocene period from 37–30 million years ago. n 1901, Charles William Andrews described Moeritherium from fossil remains found in the Qasr el Sagha Formation in the Al Fayyum in Egypt.
Moeritherium was a pig-like animal that resembled modern tapirs or small hippos (they are not believed to be related to either of those animals, however). They were smaller than modern elephants, standing only 1 meter (3 ft) high at the shoulder and were about 3 meters (10 ft) long.
Although they were hippo-shaped and pig-like in appearance, Moeritherium was not related to either. Their nose betrayed their true family connection. Like their relative Arsinoitherium, these benign herbivores were early relatives of the elephant. At around 200 kilos, they were too large for the Eocene sharks, like Physogaleus.
The shape of the skull suggests that Moeritherium actually did not have an elephant-like trunk, but rather a broad flexible upper lip like a tapir's for grasping aquatic vegetation. The second incisor teeth formed small tusks, although these would have looked more like the teeth of a hippo than a modern elephant.
The shape of their teeth suggests that they ate soft water vegetation. It was related to elephants, as indicated by the primitive trunk it may have possessed. They were amphibious like Arsinoitherium was.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Moeritherium lived in groups and wallowed in swamps and rivers, filling the ecological niche now filled by the hippopotamus. As amphibious mammals, these creatures were too large to be bothered by the usual predators such as crocodiles or sharks. Water wasn’t usually a dangerous place for these animals. They spent most of their days in the water.
At around 200 kilos, they were too big for the sharks. However, there were rare occurrences where a Moeritherium would be in danger from a Basilosaurus that ventured its way up rivers.
- The sound effects of Moeritherium are that of elephant as well as hippo, rhino, camel, and pig.