STL Science Center

STL Science Center

15 November 2014

Giants and Their Babies

©Roman Uchytel 2010
Knowing that Paraceratherium is the elder synonym of Indricotherium, the name most often associated with this animal, conjures up certain images, mainly those associated with the Walking With Series. The models used for that series are not terribly inaccurate though, to be honest. Some of their models, we have seen in the past, range from not perfect to tolerable with a few outliers in the "oh no, that's not right" category. Regardless, the models for the Paraceratherium/Indricotherium used in the show are exceptionally accurate for a television documentary. The animal is not that difficult to replicate really though. The body is vaguely like that of its cousins, the extant rhinoceroses, but it has an exceptionally long neck in comparison. Its neck is not like that of a giraffe, so calling it a cross between a rhinoceros and a giraffe is not accurate (it has been done). The head is also characteristically rhinoceros-like. As stated yesterday, the best defense for these animals was their size. The babies were already particularly large at birth, but they still required the protection of their much larger mother for a year or so, until a sibling was born, the first calf was weaned, and subsequently shunned b the mother. In much the same way as many large mammals, it is suspected that the mature males were loners that only really socialized for mating purposes, meaning that this illustration is most likely of a mother and child.

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