STL Science Center

STL Science Center

08 March 2017

Pyrotherium's Head

The head of Pyrotherium is illustrated with a short trunk or a long nose, depending on one's particular definition of the word trunk. That appendage is not preserved on any of the known skulls of course, but the skulls do tell us a lot about the life history of the animal and its cranial ornamentation. The most prominent feature of the skull are the mandibular and maxillary incisors. Two pairs of maxillary incisors and a pair of mandibular incisors are enlarged and elongated as tusks similar in shape to those of a warthog. These give the appearance of the skull tapering and looking fairly sinister, which may have been the intention of such amazing teeth. Additionally, the teeth could have been used to root and dig for preferred food items or to signal health and well being to potential mates.
©Richard Haddad, Beneski Museum of Natural History

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