One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A medium-sized mammal of the late Eocene and Oligocene epochs with a long snout and short legs, related to modern elephants.
- ‘The moeritherium belonged to the Eocene period, and was the ancestor of the elephant, an animal whose grotesque features were rendered commonplace only by familiarity.’
- ‘Not much bigger than moeritherium, phiomia did have the beginnings of a trunk and tusks on its lower jaw.’
Modern Latin, from the name of Lake Moeris in Egypt, where the first fossils were found, + Greek thērion ‘wild beast’.
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