Fossil of giant rhinoceros discovered in China

Giant rhinoceroses are the largest land mammals ever known, measuring up to 5 meters in size, 7 in length and over 15 tons in weight. They lived between 37 and 23 million years ago and most of the specimens come from Asia. Especially from China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. However, ambiguity remains on their evolutionary relationship.

a new species

A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences has unearthed a nearly complete fossil of a new species of giant rhinoceros from the Linxia Basin in northwestern China’s Gansu province. Animals subject to detailed description in review communication biology. baptism Paraceratherium linuxiaensis, the character of this animal is different from other giant rhinoceros known so far. Notably, it has a thinner skull with a nose similar to a tapir with deeper nasal cavities than other species. The skull, a mandible and a vertebra attached to the skull and 2 vertebrae of the other individual are the only elements found, so it is difficult to assess the size of this new rhinoceros which is like the others and does not have a horn despite its name. was. Nose (it appeared much later in this line). According to the researchers, it was also slightly larger than the larger ones of its kind.

Giant vertebrate of the rhinoceros. credit: Tao Dango.

travel across asia

The discovery of this new specimen made it possible to trace the phylogenetic history of paraceratherium. According to The authors of the study, they are a group closely related to Aralotherium, another genus of giant rhino. six species of six Paraceratherium is a monophyletic group that spread throughout Central and South Asia in the Oligocene, including the Tibet region that was not as high then as it is today. They lived in sparse, moist to dry forest environments and fed on leaves and branches.

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