Fossils of rhino taller than a giraffe found in China
One of the largest land animals ever, the newfound species roamed between what is now the Tibetan Plateau and Pakistan more than 25 million years ago.
Today’s Tibetan Plateau reaches into the sky—a craggy expanse of high-altitude steppes butting up against the towering Himalaya. But 26.5 million years ago, parts of this region were dotted with humid woodlands, giving refuge to another kind of skyscraper: one of the biggest mammals to ever walk on land.
The newfound creature, unveiled today in the scientific journal Communications Biology, is an extinct cousin of today’s rhinoceros called Paraceratherium linxiaense. The colossal animal would have weighed up to 24 tons, four times heavier than today’s African elephants, and its skull alone was more than a yard long.
It’s the latest known species in a group of giant, hornless rhinos that lived across Central Asia from roughly 50 million years