Temporal range: Oligocene
|An artist's illustration of Pareceratherium transouralicum|
| †Paraceratherium bugtiense|
Paraceratherium– a herbivore that lived in the forests of central Asia between 34 and 23 million years ago, weighed as much as three or four adult African elephants.
Paraceratherium fossils – found by Roy Chapman Andrews, a young scientist from the American Museum of Natural History, in Mongolia in 1922 – indicate this giant was the largest land mammal ever discovered. Weighing as much as 20 tons as an adult, Paraceratherium could stretch its long neck to nibble leaves high in the treetops of the central Asian forests.
Needing to eat massive amounts of vegetation to survive, Paraceratherium suffered as the central Asian forests were replaced by grassland habitats causing this huge mammal to become extinct. Indricotherium is the largest land mammal known, larger than the largest species of mammoths (Mammuthus Sungari, which may have approached it in size and weight). It is also known as the "giraffe rhinoceros". Adult Paraceratherium are estimated to have been 5.5 metres (18 ft) tall at the shoulder, 9 metres (30 ft) in length from nose to rump, a maximum raised head height of about 8 metres (26 ft), and a skull length of 1.5 metres (4.9 ft). Weight estimates vary greatly, but most realistic and reliable weight estimates are about 20 tonnes. This puts it in the weight range of some medium-sized sauropod dinosaurs.
It was a herbivore that stripped leaves from trees with its down-pointing, tusk-like upper teeth that occluded forward-pointing lower teeth. It had a long, low, hornless skull and vaulted frontal and nasal bones. Its front teeth were reduced to a single pair of incisors in either jaw, but they were conical and so large that they looked like small tusks. The upper incisors pointed straight downwards, while the lower ones jutted outwards. The upper lip was evidently extremely mobile. The neck was very long, the trunk robust, and the limbs long and thick, column-like. Its type of dentition, its mobile upper lip and its long legs and neck indicate that it was a browser that lived on the leaves and twigs of trees and large shrubs.
Paraceratherium was the largest land mammal ever, weighing four times that of a modern elephant and twice that of the largest known mammoth. It's head was small compared to its enormous body which was supported by three toes on each foot (much like the rhinoceros of today). Using two teeth on its upper jaw and two on its lower jaw, the Paraceratherium was able to graze on trees more than 26 ft high. Remains have been found in Baluchitherium (Pakistan) which the animal is sometimes referred to as. Paraceratherium is also known as Baluchitherium or Indricotherium and Paraceratheres. It looks mostly like a large horse but actually it is more closely related to modern Rhinoceros.
In the Media
- Paraceratherium was seen in a 1981 Stop Motion documentary called Mark D. Wolf's Age of Mammals under its' name "Baluchitherum".
- It was also seen in Walking with Beasts under its' name "Indricotherum".
- It also appears in a documentary Life After Dinosaurs by National Geographic.
- It also appears in Top 10 Biggest Beasts ever on National Geographic later re titled as Worlds Biggest Beast on The Smithsonian Channel.
- It also appears in Jurassic Park: Builder under the name "Indricotherium".
- It also appears in ARK: Survival Evolved.
- Paraceratherium is a Legendary Savannah creature that can be created in Jurassic World: The Game under its' junior synonym Indricotherium.