Answer to: The fossils of Paraceratherium has recently been discovered in China. What animal’s fossils are they?
Paraceratherium is an extinct genus of hornless rhinoceros.
It is one of the largest terrestrial mammals that has existed and lived from
the early to the late Oligocene epoch (34–23 million years ago). The first fossils
were discovered in what is now Pakistan, and remains have been found across
Eurasia between China and the Balkans. It is classified as a member of the
hydrocodone subfamily Indricotheriinae. Paraceratherium means “near the
hornless beast”, in reference to Aceratherium, the genus in which the type
species A. bugtiense was originally placed.
The exact size of Paraceratherium is unknown because of the
incompleteness of the fossils. The shoulder height was about 4.8 meters (15.7
feet), and the length about 7.4 meters (24.3 feet). Its weight is estimated to
have been about 15 to 20 tonnes (33,000 to 44,000 lb). The long neck supported
a skull that was about 1.3 meters (4.3 ft) long. It had large, tusk-like
incisors and a nasal incision that suggests it had a prehensile upper lip or
proboscis (trunk). The legs were long and pillar-like. The lifestyle of
Paraceratherium may have been similar to that of modern large mammals such as
the elephants and extant rhinoceroses. Because of its size, it would have had
few predators and a slow rate of reproduction. It was a browser, eating mainly
leaves, soft plants, and shrubs. It lived in habitats ranging from arid deserts
with a few scattered trees to subtropical forests. The reasons for the animal’s
extinction are unknown, but various factors have been proposed.