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Scientists Discover Incredible Prehistoric Rhino Fossils

By Ruiti He

The rhinos found today weigh drastically less than the ones which inhabited China 26 million years back. They were said to weigh 46,000 pounds compared to today's 1,800-5,100 pounds. Back then, they also were also taller than giraffes as well, standing at 23 feet tall (7 meters).

A doctor from Chinese Academy of Sciences with his team discovered two specimens of the prehistoric rhino 6 years ago in the Linxia Basin. There, they found a complete skull with everything intact along with a second fossil that had 3 complete vertebrae.

Once more research was conducted, it showed that the two fossils were from an unknown new species called the Paraceratherium. They used to wander around in Asia about 34 to 23 million years ago. The same researchers also revealed that the new species is in the top ten of largest rhinos found to date. The skull fossil allowed them to know that the species had a long thick neck and short torso while the vertebrae were rather more flexible. Scientists believe that the organisms had four bony legs and were quick on their feet.

Dr. Deng’s team published their findings in the journal Communications Biology this year. The team believes that the species are related to the Paraceratherium bugtiense, a species that used to live in Pakistan but were said to have migrated south for more food and migrated back when conditions have gotten better. “Animal migration is linked to climate change. So 31 million years ago, when the Mongolian plateau dried up, they moved south,” Dr. Deng said to CNN.






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