Paraceratherium (also sometimes known as "Indricotherium" or
"Baluchiterium" or "Indricothere" - see the comments on naming below)
was a genus of herbivorous (plant eating) mammals that
lived in Asia between about 30 million years ago, and 20 million years
have been found in a number of countries including
It was an odd-toed ungulate (part of the order Perissodactyla),
and is believed to be related to modern rhinoceroses.
The animal was probably the largest land mammal in history, exceeding
in size even the largest species of mammoths.
An adult was perhaps 18 feet (5.5 meters)
tall at the should, 25 feet (7.5 meters)
tall when its head was raised, and
about 28 feet (8 meters) in length not including
the tail. Even the animal's skull was massive,
at around 4½ feet (1.4 meters) long.
Estimates of the animal's weight range from
10 to 20 tons.
The regions that Paraceratherium lived
in during life would have been subtropical
forests. Paraceratherium would have eaten
leaves and twigs from trees and shrubs,
and would have been particularly adept
at stripping trees of their leaves.
The first description of
Paraceratherium was by Forster Cooper
and a number of other similar animals by Forster Cooper and others in
the next few years. Although the various animals of this type described by different
scientists do have important differences, there are also many similarities,
so it is not entirely clear whether the animals were all of the same genus
or not, and hence the variety of names assigned by different scientists to
different specimens. Assuming however that the animals
were of the same genus, the various names would all in fact be synonyms,
and the first chosen name, that is to say "Paraceratherium", would take
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