About 25 million years ago, a giant rhino, over 16 feet high, roamed the globe. Although they are considered the largest terrestrial mammals ever lived, scientists are confused by their evolutionary history and their dispersal throughout Asia.
Paleontologists have discovered a fossil of the Paraceratherium linxiaense, the sixth new species of extinct giant rhinoceros. These fossils reveal how animals migrated through China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. Vertebrate Paleoanthropology A team of researchers led by Deng Tao of the Paleoanthropology Institute published their 2015 findings in Communications Biology in a new study this week.
Researchers have discovered one fossil of a fully preserved skull, jawbone, and teeth and its associated atlas, the part of the body where the head connects to the spine. Another fossil is composed of three vertebrae.
The wreckage provided enough detail for the team to build a digital 3D model and compare it to other giant rhinos. This allows new species with longer and more flexible necks to be categorized.
A rare fossil found in Gansu Province, China, located on the northeastern border of the Tibetan Plateau, dates back to the late Oligocene, which lasted from about 34 million years ago to about 23 million years ago.
These giant rhinos were significantly larger than modern rhinos, with an estimated shoulder height of about 16 feet and a weight of over 40,000 pounds. They also lacked horns.
This finding reveals how the region has changed since the extinction of these giant creatures.
“The Tibetan region may have hosted some areas at low altitudes, perhaps less than 2,000 meters, during the Oligocene, with giant rhino strains along the east coast of the Tethys Ocean, and perhaps. It may be freely dispersed in some of the lowlands of the region, “the researchers write.
Researchers found that in the early Oligocene, animals dispersed to the west in Kazakhstan, descendants expanded to South Asia, then returned north to cross the Tibetan region, and finally to the east of the Lincia Basin. Decided to produce linxiaense.
“Late Oligocene tropical conditions have allowed giant rhinos to return north to Central Asia, which means that the Tibetan region has not yet risen as a plateau,” Deng said. Says.
The new fossil reveals one of the largest terrestrial mammals ever found — and it’s a giant rhino
Source link The new fossil reveals one of the largest terrestrial mammals ever found — and it’s a giant rhino