The gomphothere of the cave

August 28, 2023

The ancestors of today's elephants. 

During the Ice Age, four members of the Order of the proboscideans, now totally extinct, inhabited Mexico; the mammoth Mammuthus columbi, the mastodon Mammut americanum, and the gomphotheres Cuvieronius tropicus and Stegomastodon.

Gomphotheres arrived to America around 16 million years ago and the first gomphotheres originated in Africa during the Late Oligocene 30 million years ago and for a long time they had the 2 pairs of incisors, both the upper and the lower ones super- developed alike Tetrabelodon, but the most derived and recent species that inhabited the Yucatan peninsula only possessed the characteristic pair of superdeveloped upper incisor teeth, that is, very similar to modern elephants. 


The Stegomastodon and Cuvieronius gomphotheres lived both at high altitudes and in warm places at sea level, Cuvoeronius even reached Quintana Roo.



Gomphothere Stegomastodon primitivus.

Gomphotheres are the ancestors of elephants. In the last decades, its fossils have been recorded in Mexico, including caves in the Yucatan Peninsula. Stegomastodon measured approximately 2.70 meters in height and a weight that could have exceeded 5 tons, it had an appearance similar to that of current elephants but with a more robust and elongated body and shorter legs. The oldest Stegomastodon gomphothere existed 5 million years ago and the last ones became extinct 10 thousand years ago.

Proboscids (They have the upper lip fused with the nose).

Herbivores (Plant eaters).


Their diet included grasses, tender shoots of trees, seeds, fruits and other vegetables. Their molars have stout cusps that allowed them to eat different parts of a variety of plants and mostly grass like flat-molared mammoths.

Espeleólogo subacuático, investigador, autor de artículos científicos, descubridor de las campanas del inframundo y de especies nuevas de megafauna extinta.


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