Paleoparadoxia tabatai skeletal reconstruction

  • USA, Mexico
  • Japan, Sakhalin

The Desmostylia are an extinct group of mammals wasserbewohnender. There are enigmatic animals that are only known from the Late Oligocene and Miocene and lived according to current knowledge only on the North Pacific coast.


Desmostylia reach body lengths of up to 1.8 meters and its weight is estimated at up to 200 kilograms. In their physique they show certain similarities with hippos. Your physique was strong, the front and hind limbs were well developed. The feet were noticeably broad and possibly developed paddle-shaped. Noteworthy are her teeth: incisors and canines sticking tusk -like front, behind a gaping wide gap ( diastema ), the molars were cylindrical.

Way of life

Desmostylia lived on the coasts of the North Pacific, fossil finds are occupied from Japan, Mexico and the United States. In contrast to the closely related manatees they could move probably still on land, their way of life is compared with the sea lions. During the mating and sleeping, they have probably stopped at the country while they were looking for food in the water.

The sense of its unique in the mammalian kingdom teeth is largely unknown. They may thus have grazed seaweed.


The Desmostylia be classified in the group of mammals of the Paenungulata their next still living relatives are the elephants and manatees. Puzzles are, however, their range to: because their same living relatives were largely confined to Africa, it is unclear how these animals have come to the North Pacific.