Desmostylus was an hipoppotamus-like creature of about 1.8 metres (6 ft) long which weighed about 200 kilograms (440 lb). It had a short tail and powerful legs with four hooves. Both the creature's jaws were elongated and sported forward-facing tusks, which were elongated canines and incisors.Most likely amphibious, Desmostylus is thought to have lived in shallow water in coastal regions. Some paleontologists have argued it may have fed on seaweed during low tide. However, recent isotope work indicates that Demostylus more likely lived (or spent a large amount of time) in freshwater or estuary ecosystems foraging for aquatic freshwater plants.
D. hesperus (synonyms and invalid names: D. watasei, D. cymatias, D. californicus,D. mirabilis, D. minor, Desmostylella typica),D. coalingensis (syn. Vanderhoofius coalingensis),D. japonicus.