The Rhino of Vatera PDF Print E-mail

The Etruscan rhinoceros (Stephanorhinus etruscus) was an inhabitant of the forests around Vatera two million years ago. This rhinoceros was small and had relatively long limbs. It bore two horns: one larger horn on its nose and one much smaller horn on its forehead. The Etruscan rhinoceros was a browser, and thus has low-crowned molars (brachyodont ) without complex enamel pattern.

Rhinoceroses are odd-toed ungulates (Perissodactyla), and remote relatives of the horses (Equidae). Today, there are two-horned rhinos (Africa and Asia) and one-horned rhinos (Asia), but they are all endangered because of hunting and deforestation. The living two-horned rhinos are the white rhino (Ceratotherium) and the black rhino (Diceros) of Africa, and the hairy rhino (Dicerorhinus) of Sumatra. The African white and black rhinos are closely related, yet the first one is a grazer, and the second one a browser. The Sumatran hairy rhino is closely related to the wooly rhino (Coelodonta antiquitata) of the Pleistocene and the Etruscan rhino (Stephanorhinus etruscus) of the Pliocene.

The living one-horned rhinos are the great Indian one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis), after which the whole family was named, and the smaller Asian one-horned rhino, or Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus). They are not closely related to the lineage of the Etruscan rhino.


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