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The elephant, an example of an afrotherian


From Afrotheria, from Afro- + Ancient Greek θηρίον (thēríon, beast), +‎ -an.


afrotherian (comparative more afrotherian, superlative most afrotherian)

  1. (zoology) Belonging or pertaining to the superorder Afrotheria, which includes the elephants, aardvarks, golden moles, tenrecs, etc.
    • 2003, Yumie Murata et al., "Afrotherian Phylogeny as Inferred from Complete Mitochondrial Genomes", Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, volume 28, page 253:
      Although the monophyly of Afrotheria is well supported by recent molecular studies, the interrelationships within afrotherian mammals remain unclarified.
    • 2006, Chris Beard, The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey, University of California Press, page 251:
      Just as molecular evidence from living mammals would predict, the African fossil record documents the presence of several afrotherian groups by early or middle Eocene time.


afrotherian (plural afrotherians)

  1. (zoology) A placental that belongs to the superorder Afrotheria, such as an elephant, aardvark, golden mole, tenrec, etc.
    • 2001, Michael J. Novacek, "Mammalian Phylogeny: Genes and Supertrees", Current Biology, volume 11, page R573:
      As their name implies, afrotherians putatively represent a radiation of placentals rooted in the African continent and nearby island of Madagascar.