The giant rhino, Paraceratherium, has been mainly found in Asia, according to a statement from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, released Friday.
The new species, Paraceratherium linxiaense, or Linxia Giant Rhino, was named by a Chinese and American team led by Deng Tao of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) at the academy, which analyzed the fossils found in 2015.
“Usually the fossils come in pieces, but this one is complete, with a very complete skull and a very complete jaw, which is rare,” Deng told CNN.
“The skull was over a meter (three feet) long, and it was very rare for a skull of this size to be preserved. We also found the cervical spine,” he said.
The fossils were found in the Linxia Basin in northwest China’s Gansu Province, and genetic analysis showed they belonged to a new species of giant rhino.
The huge animal is said to have weighed 24 tons and was the same size as six elephants, Deng told CNN. His shoulders were over 16 feet from the ground, his head 23 feet, and his body was 26 feet long, he added.
For comparison, adult male giraffes can exceed 18 feet in height, with females reaching around 14 feet.
“It is the largest mammal to ever live on earth,” Deng said.
He mainly lived in China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Pakistan, with a few in Eastern Europe, he added.
The giant rhino lived in the northern part of the Tibetan plateau around 31 million years ago, before migrating southwest to Kazakhstan and then Pakistan.
Linxia’s giant rhino descends from those who lived in Pakistan. They should have crossed the Tibetan Plateau to get north to Linxia, meaning the plateau was lower than it is now, Deng said.
“In addition, animal migration is linked to climate change. So, 31 million years ago, when the Mongolian plateau dried up, they moved south, ”he added.
“Then the weather turned wet and they returned north. Therefore, this finding is of great importance for the study of the entire process of plateau uplift, climate and environment.” , did he declare.
Scientists believe the burrowing dinosaurs, Changmiania liaoningensis, were trapped by a volcanic eruption as they rested deep in their burrows.