Paraceratherium have been known for many years. They are a species of giant rhinoceros that lived during the Oligocene, between about 50 and 25 million years ago. And these animals had some astonishing features. For one thing, they were rhinos without horns. But there is something even more impressive: the Paraceratherium could weigh up to... 24 tonnes and measure more than 22 feet. That's about... four times bigger than an African elephant, at least!
An interesting discovery
The extraordinary dimensions of Paraceratherium allow it to be considered the largest land mammal that has ever lived on Earth. By comparison, the average rhinoceros today weighs just over two tonnes.
A subspecies of Paraceratherium has just been discovered by Chinese scientists in Gansu province, in northwest China, as reported by Futura. Its name? Paraceratherium linxiaense. And according to Tao Deng of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, this species was:
[Paraceratherium was] about 20% larger than Paraceratherium bugtiense, the most common species found mainly in Pakistan.
And a solved mystery
This discovery could well advance science. Until now, experts did not know how the Paraceratherium was able to move from one continent to the other (Asia and Europe) when they were separated by a sea. The Asian Paraceratherium gradually migrated to Kazakhstan, and their descendants did the same to South Asia. Then the giant rhinoceroses moved upwards, crossing the Tibetan region where the mountains were not as impassable as they are today. To see what these animals looked like, go to the video at the top of our article.