Paleontologists have described a previously unknown species of extinct rhinoceros - some of the largest mammals ever to walk on land.
In northwestern China, they found the remains of giant indricotherium - extinct relatives of rhinos, larger than modern animals, but lacking a horn. They lived in Central Eurasia between 20 and 30 million years ago and were the most massive and tallest (up to 17 tons and up to five meters at the withers) land mammals. First described by Russian paleontologists, these herbivores are named after the fairytale beast of folk tales.
A skull recently found in China belonged to a previously unknown species of Indricotherium, one of the largest. Tao Deng and his colleagues from the Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology classified him as a member of Paraceratherium linxiaense, the sixth in this genus. According to scientists, the height of the animal could be compared with modern giraffes and reached 4.8 meters. Moreover, its mass, according to various estimates, could reach 11 and even 20 tons. This is stated in an article published in the journal Communications Biology.
Scientists believe that the distribution of the ancient rhinoceros started from present-day Mongolia, from where they migrated through the north of China, Kazakhstan and Tibet all the way to Pakistan. Each region developed its own populations, which between 20 and 30 million years ago gave rise to various species of these animals, the remains of which are found today. The newly described Paraceratherium linxiaense was located approximately half way, at the beginning of the penetration of animals into Tibet.