One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An extinct South American hoofed mammal resembling a horse or camel, found from the Palaeocene to the Pleistocene epochs.
- ‘Many strange mammals - litopterns, notoungulates, ground sloths, borhyeanas, etc - continued to evolve in isolation in South America before a land bridge formed and allowed a devastating invasion of forms from the north.’
Early 20th century: from modern Latin Litopterna, from Greek litos ‘smooth’ + pternē ‘heel bone’.
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