Mean atmospheric O2
Geologic Time Scale
Paraceratherium and child
A gigantic hornless rhinoceros-like mammal of the genus Paraceratherium mother grazes on leaves and twigs of a deciduous flowering plant of the genus Populus (AKA a poplar tree) while her infant son stands nearby in a scene from 30 million years ago in northwest China. Also in this scene on the lower left is a lagomorph mammal of the genus Palaeolagus; the order lagomorpha includes modern hares, rabbits and pikas. On the lower right is a rodent of the genus Palaeosciurus, the earliest known ground squirrel. Flying overhead are passerine ancestors of today's perching songbirds.
More massive than a modern African elephant, Paraceratherium is believed to be the largest mammal ever to have walked the Earth. Adult Paraceratherium are estimated to have been 18 ft tall at the shoulder with a maximum raised head height of 26 ft. They may have weighed as much as 20 tons. Related to modern rhinoceroses, Paraceratherium became extinct about 23 million years ago.
Copyright © Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.
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