Molar fragments of five proboscidean taxa, representing three families, were examined under the scanning electron microscope for their enamel prism patterns. (Three of the five examined are extinct.) Results show that enamel prisms of Deinotherium are the least dense, whereas the prisms of the Elephantidae genera (Loxodonta, Elephas and Mammuthus) are the most dense, with the enamel prisms of Gomphotherium being intermediate in their density. No significant variations were found among Elephantidae genera. These observations correlate with those of earlier workers (e.g., Osborn, 1942) in that many of the morphological changes used to separate elephants (sensu stricto) from other proboscideans are the result of an evolutionary trend in diet, from the predominately browsing animals (having brachyodont thick-enamel molar teeth) to the predominately grazing animals (having hypsodont thin-enamel molar teeth).
Cring, F. D. (1986). Enamel Prism Patterns in Proboscidean Molar Teeth. Elephant, 2(2), 72-79. Doi: 10.22237/elephant/1521732011