Gomphothere Tooth : 2012

Photograph by

Norm Barker

About this image

Macro photograph of a polished section of the tooth of a gomphothere. The gomphotheres were a diverse family of elephant-like animals that flourished in the Miocene and Pliocene epochs (12-1.6 million years ago). They differed from the true elephant ancestors by their tooth structure, often having four tusks. Gomphothere species across North America and Eurasia began to be replaced by true elephants from about 5 million years ago, although the most isolated populations in South America may have survived as recently as 6000 years ago. The blue mineral associated with the original enamel is vivianite. Photographed with a Nikon D800E camera and a Zeiss Luminar 63mm lens with fibre optic lighting. Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A