Moeritherium is often cited as a very primitive elephant and is indeed related to modern-day elephants and dugongs, but the genus actually evolved as a side branch leaving no descendants. It lived with several other, relatively comparable, species of early proboscideans, but Moeritherium was clearly different in body form and other details. Its habits can be compared to that of a hippopotamus, but looked more like a weird hybrid with a tapir. They only stood 70 cm high at the shoulders and probably did not have a trunk. Instead, it is believed that it had a very muscular upper lip. Moeritherium lived in Northern Africa and populated freshwater swamps and rivers were it fed on soft aquatic plants.
Eocene to Oligocene
The first fossil remains were discovered in Egypt in 1901 and belonged to the type species of M. lyonsi. Other species of Moeritherium were found in the same area and other regions of Northern Africa. Clear differences between the species are not specified.
Larramendi, A. (2015). Shoulder height, body mass, and shape of proboscideans. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 61(3), 537-574.