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.
- ‘Not much bigger than moeritherium, phiomia did have the beginnings of a trunk and tusks on its lower jaw.’
- ‘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.’
Modern Latin, from the name of Lake Moeris in Egypt, where the first fossils were found, + Greek thērion ‘wild beast’.
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