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Paraceratherium (par-ah-cer-ah-thee-ree-um) was a genus of rhinoceros that lived in Eurasia during the Oligocene epoch. It is considered by some to be the largest land mammal ever.

Characteristics[]

Current estimates suggest a length of about 7.4 meters, a height just under five meters, and a mass between 11,000 and 20,000 kg.

Paraceratherium had a neck that was proportionally longer than that of modern rhinoceros species. It also had no horn on its nose.

The living creature[]

Paraceratherium was a browser, feeding on leafy vegetation, as opposed to the modern white rhinoceros which is a grazer. It has been suggested that Paraceratherium had large home ranges, as food would not be plentiful in its home environment. It is also possible that small herds existed. Paraceratherium probably had a long gestation period and a long lifespan.

Adult Paraceratherium were too large to be threatened by any predator. However, younger individuals have been attacked by very large crocodiles.

Importance[]

Paraceratherium is one of the largest known land mammals ever to exist, only rivaled by the extinct elephant Palaeoloxodon. It has been suggested that the maximum size of land mammals is around 20,000 kg, the size Paraceratherium could have reached. Land mammals cannot attain the sizes of Sauropod dinosaurs such as Argentinosaurus due to a variety of factors, including reproductive mechanism and bone structure.