An illustration of an extinct mammal related to the ancestors of modern hoofed odd-toed ungulates. It has a small stocky body and five toes on its feet with small hooves, walking on the middle three.

Phenacodus primaevus, a mammal from the Late Paleocene to Middle Eocene of North America and Europe (~60-48 mya). About 1.5m long (5′), it’s thought to have been one of the earliest known odd-toed ungulates, walking on its middle three hoofed toes.

Its teeth were adapted for a diet of mostly plant matter, although it may also have been opportunistically omnivorous.

Another species in the same genus, Phenacodus intermedius, had a skull structure that suggests it might have had a muscular prehensile upper lip – or perhaps even a short tapir-like proboscis.

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