Scientists' findings have reconstructed the appearance of the giant rhinoceros from Linxia, which was the largest land creature in history.
In 2015, during excavations in China, an international team of Chinese and American paleontologists discovered the remains of an ancient animal in the Linxia Basin in Gansu Province in northwestern China. A detailed study of the fossils found suggested that it was an ancient species of rhinoceros Paraceratherium linxiaense (translated as "giant rhinoceros of Linxia").
"The discovered skull was more than a meter long, and the remains of the cervical spine helped us in studying the animal and reconstructing its appearance. Usually fossils are broken into separate pieces, but this find was a whole, with a very full skull and a very full jaw, which is rare," said Deng Tao of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
According to the experts' findings, the giant rhinoceros from Linxia reached 7 meters in height, its body length was about 8 meters, and its weight of 24 tons was equal to that of six elephants, making Paraceratherium linxiaense the largest mammal ever to inhabit the land. The area of distribution of the giant animal included China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Pakistan, as well as Eastern Europe.
As experts note, 31 million years ago, when the Mongolian plateau dried up, giant rhinos from Linxia moved south, and when the climate recovered, the mammals returned north again. This behavior of Paraceratherium linxiaense is important for studying the whole process of plateau uplift, climate and environment. The results of their research were published by Chinese and U.S. experts in an article in the scientific journal Communications Biology.