Paraceratherium, was the largest land mammal of all time, of any kind we know. It is an Indricothere - a Perissodactyl Mammal, the same as Horses, Rhinos and Tapirs are today. However, the Indricotheres are an extinct group of the Perissodactyl Mammal. Essentially it was a giant Rhino, looking for all the world like a rhino trying to be a giraffe.
It was a bulky, powerful herbivore, that dwarfed the largest land mammals of today; for example, even a female would have weighed as much as 8 Rhinos, at around 15 tonnes, with the largest of the bulkier males possibly weighing closer to 20 tonnes. They were the size of some of the "smaller" (actually average sized) Sauropod Dinosaurs, such as Camarasaurus, Cetiosaurus and Saltasaurus.
At 8 metres tall at the hip and 12-15 metres long, it is clear that they were just that size indeed. Fully grown adults would have had nothing to fear from predation. Juveniles would have stayed under the protection of their mothers for an extensive period of time, until expelled from her presence by force.
Males would battle each other for breeding rights, and Palaeontologists have analysed the skulls, and found that they were reinforced in the males specifically. Why? Well, the best guess is that they were reinforced in males to allow them to better cope with contests of strength, hitting each other in the sides with colossal strikes of the head and neck. Indricotheres were massive, and as with Elephants, larger mammals tend to have longer lifespans.
Experts reckon that the oldest Paraceratherium could have lived over 80-100 years at least. If an animal lived this long, they would have an extensive knowledge of their environment, remembering the precise location of watering holes for example, even after decades of having not been there since. Indricotheres thrived in Mongolia, Indricotheres such as Paraceratherium, which was the largest of them that we know of.
Further Description[edit | edit source]
Paraceratherium lived 25-20 Million Years Ago, in Mongolia, during the Oligocene Epoch. Indricotheres are known mainly from Asia, particularly Mongolia. Roy Chapman Andrews, first discovered Indricotheres in his famous 1920's expedition into Mongolia, in which amongst many other things, he discovered Entelodonts, Hyaenodonts, Dinosaur nests and several Dinosaur species.