Tapirus polkensis, the pygmy tapir, is a small prehistoric tapir that lived in North America during the late Miocene and early Pliocene.[1] T. polkensis had an estimated mass of around 125 kg (276 lb),[1] making it smaller than any extant tapir.

Tapirus polkensis
Temporal range: Late Miocene–Early Pliocene
Fossil replicas on display at the Gray Fossil Site & Museum
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Tapiridae
Genus: Tapirus
T. polkensis
Binomial name
Tapirus polkensis
Olsen, 1960

The Gray Fossil Site in northeast Tennessee is home to the world's largest known fossil assemblage of T. polkensis.

Life reconstruction


  1. ^ a b Richard C. Hulbert Jr.; Steven C. Wallace; Walter E. Klippel & Paul W. Parmalee (2009). "Cranial morphology and systematics of an extraordinary sample of the Late Neogene dwarf tapir, Tapirus polkensis (Olsen)". Journal of Paleontology. 83 (2): 238–262. doi:10.1666/08-062.1.