Showing posts with label Arsinoitherium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arsinoitherium. Show all posts

Arsinoitherium, the cousin of the elephant.


When alive, it would have superficially resembled a rhinoceros, and have been about 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) tall at the shoulders, and 3 metres (9.8 ft) long. The most noticeable feature of Arsinoitherium was a pair of enormous knife-like horns with cores of solid bone that projected from above the nose, and a second pair of tiny, knob-like horns on top of the head, immediately behind the larger horns. The skeleton is robust but shows that it was descended from a cursorial ancestor, and that the beast may have been able to run if it had to, like a modern elephant or rhinoceros. Its limb bones also suggest that the columnar legs of the living animal were elephant-like (especially since they ended in five-toed feet), rather than rhinoceros-like. Arsinoitherium had a full complement of 44 teeth, which is the primitive state of placental mammalian dentition, suggesting that it was a selective browser. The large size and hefty build of Arsinoitherium would have rendered it largely immune to predation. However, creodonts may have preyed on the young or infirm.


Arsinoitherium is an extinct genus of paenungulate mammal related to elephants, and hyraxes (Embrithopoda). These species were rhinoceros-like herbivores that lived during the late Eocene and the early Oligocene, from 36 to 30 million years ago, in areas of tropical rainforest, and at the margin of swamps.
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