STL Science Center

STL Science Center

05 November 2014

Rhinoceros Horns

The size of Elasmotherium is greater than that of extant rhinoceroses. The person pictured here is about average height but that really does not tell us much about the height and size of Elasmotherium beyond the fact that it is taller and larger than a person. Then San Diego Zoo keeper Laura Weiner posed near a young Black Rhinoceros and with some Indian Rhinoceroses in the not too distant past that gives us a much better image of the height of an extant rhinoceros next to a human being. Obviously they are large animals and their overall size dwarfs ours, but Elasmotherium would have done a much better job of making us look miniscule when standing next to it. The horn alone was particularly enormous, and fortunately we have materials that allow us to make inferences into what that horn looked like. One such piece of material is the skull at the Natural History Museum of London. This skull has a well preserved base for the horn that allows for well informed extrapolation of the structure. The length of the horn based on that extrapolation may not be entirely correct, but that is a question of math and inferences and topics that I am honestly not well-enough versed in to describe. Either way, these enormous horns would probably have caused Elasmotherium to become endangered just as fast or faster than their extant cousins because of the wealth they would have represented. They would have been pretty awesome to see roaming the plains though, that cannot really be denied.
NHM London specimen User: Ghedoghedo

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