Florida and South America

(Argentina) size: 9 ft/2.7 m high Cuvieronius was named for the great French comparative anatomist and founder of paleontology, Baron George Cuvier (1769-1832). A fairly small gomphothere, Cuvieronius' most remarkable feature was its tusks, which were spirally twisted like those of a narwhal.

We do not usually associate the South American continent with elephants. However, remains of Cuvieronius have been found in mountainous areas of both North and South America, a fact reflected in its synonym Cordillerion — "the one from the mountain range."

Cuvieronius evolved in western North America at the end of the Miocene, and migrated to South America during Pleistocene times, around 2 million years ago. It spread from the grassy pampas in the east to the heights of the Andes in the west, reaching as far south as Argentina. It was hunted to extinction, probably as recently as ad 400.

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