African Elephants have always been my favorite living animal and are part of a proud, diverse family that can be traced over much of the planet. These Proboscideans included some of the Earth’s largest land mammals with the subject of today’s review one of its most impressive. Deinotherium dominated Africa as well as Eurasia approximately 10 million to 10,000 years ago, possibly crossing paths with early humans. Its name means “terrible beast” and was larger than modern elephants though with a shorter trunk. Its most distinguishing characteristic, however, were its tusks that curved downward from its lower jaw. In most other members of the elephant family, tusks jut from the upper jaw and curve in the opposite direction. The reason Deinotherium’s evolved this way is still up for debate with some suggesting they were designed for digging out roots and tubers much like a backhoe. Another notable featured that differed from its more dome-headed cousins was a nearly flat skull.