Definition of proboscidean in English:


(also proboscidian)


  • A mammal of the order Proboscidea, which comprises the elephants and their extinct relatives.

    • ‘The nature and behavior of these proboscideans have also haunted South African naturalist Lyall Watson, who evokes their world in Elephantoms: Tracking the Elephant (W. W. Norton).’
    • ‘In addition, because they are believed to be the sister group to proboscideans, their aquatic preferences raise interesting evolutionary questions.’
    • ‘The team found several species of archaic proboscideans called Palaeomastodons previously known from 32-million-year-old coastal sediments in Fayum, Egypt.’
    • ‘There were once more than 300 species within the family, known as proboscideans, but today only Asian elephants and African elephants still exist.’
    • ‘The earliest proboscideans lacked any trunk or tusks.’


  • Relating to or denoting proboscideans.

    • ‘Hypsodonty has been shown to be a spurious correlate to obligate grazing in previous studies on certain equid and proboscidean taxa as well.’
    • ‘As humans moved north into Eurasia from Africa and, later, south from Alaska across the Americas, proboscidean range contracted correspondingly.’
    • ‘Climate change, then, cannot account for proboscidean extinction "unless one were to invoke serial climatic change that perfectly tracks human global colonization."’
    • ‘If people hunted these animals to extinction, the authors argue, the kill sites should appear along the border between proboscidean and human ranges.’
    • ‘If climate was the culprit, then people and proboscideans should have shared some of the same territory, at least until climate change shrunk proboscidean habitat.’