A prehistoric rhino | Sunday Observer

A prehistoric rhino

1 August, 2021

Modern rhinos, weighing between 1,800 and 5,100 pounds, are no lightweights. They pale in comparison to their prehistoric cousin, which roamed China approximately 26 million years ago.

The massive mammal weighed 46,000 pounds, which is roughly the weight of four large African elephants. It was also taller than a giraffe, standing at 23ft (7m) Dr. Tao Deng of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues discovered the remains of two massive rhinos in the Linxia Basin of northwest China in 2015.

A perfectly preserved skull, jawbone, teeth, and the atlas vertebra, which connects the head to the spine, were all found in one fossil.

The second fossil was a complete set of three vertebrae. A closer look revealed that the two specimens belonged to a previously unknown new species of the Paraceratherium, an extinct genus of hornless rhinos. During the Oligocene period, the animals, which were among the largest mammals to walk on land, roamed across Asia (34 million to 23 million years ago).

The new species, named Paraceratherium linxiaens by the researchers, is the sixth and largest rhino discovered to date.

The size of the skull suggests that P. linxiaens had a long, thick neck and a short torso, while the vertebrae indicate a more flexible neck than other Paraceratheriums. The animals, according to the scientists, had four bony legs, similar to those of a giraffe.