One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural deinotheriums, Plural deinotheria
A fossil elephant-like mammal found mainly in the Pliocene epoch, the lower jaw having tusks curving downward and backward.
Genus Deinotherium, suborder Deinotherioidea, order Proboscidea
- ‘By the Early Miocene, deinotheres had grown to the size of a small elephant, and had migrated to Eurasia.’
- ‘Imagine a landscape inhabited by several kinds of elephantoids, deinotheres, three species of rhino, two species of hippo, and two species of giraffe.’
- ‘These ancient species were lying side by side with more advanced forms called deinotheres and gomphotheres, which were not previously known to exist until 20 million years ago.’
- ‘It is a member of a group called the deinotheres which were cousins to the elephants.’
- ‘The name deinothere is based on the Greek for ‘terrible beast’, as 19th century naturalists believed that it was a sea monster.’
Modern Latin, from Greek deinos ‘terrible’ + thērion ‘wild beast’.
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