China fossils show new species of extinct giant rhino that roamed Asia

BEIJING: Fossils found in northwest China’s Gansu province indicate a new species of giant rhino that lived more than 26 million years ago, according to a paper published in the journal Communications Biology on Thursday.

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The fossils including a skull and two vertebrae found in the reddish-brown sandstone of the Linxia basin shed light on how the ancient rhinos, some of the largest land mammals ever, evolved and moved across what is now Asia.

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The dispersal of giant rhino fossils — others have been found on the far side of the Himalayas in Pakistan — indicate “Tibet, as a plateau, did not yet exist and was not yet a barrier to exchange of largest land mammals,” the paper said.

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Giant rhinos like the newly discovered species, named Paraceratherium linxiaense, were hornless, long-necked herbivores, perhaps weighing 20 tonnes — equal to several elephants — and likely living in open woodland.

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