STL Science Center

STL Science Center

07 November 2014

Game of Teleoceras

The family tree of the rhinoceroses has branches occupied by some rather large animals. Elasmotherium we know was a tall and stout animal and the extant members of the family are typically large and stout regardless of how short they might be (Javan and Sumatran rhinoceroses are significantly smaller than their other living cousins). The small members of the family are not limited to these small extant rhinoceroses though. One of the smallest members of the family tree is most famously known from North America (although also known in France), which is not considered, usually, prime rhinoceros country compared to the extant taxa. Often portrayed as a rather portly rhinoceros, members of the genus Teleoceras (consisting of 10 species), were also shorter than their living cousins and ranged the land between around 15.5 and 2.6 million years ago. The holotype species is Teleoceras major Hatcher 1894. Teleoceras possessed a very un-rhinoceros like trait aside from its rather hippopotamus-esque stature, it lacked a prominent horn (let alone a pair of horns) on its snout. Also, the armored skin of this rhinoceros genus is different from that of other rhinoceroses and is portrayed along a line from thick hide alone to thickened armored hide.

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