Temporal range: Late Miocene–Middle Pleistocene
Hippopotamus gorgops ("Gorgon-eyed river horse") is an extinct species of hippopotamus. It first appeared in Africa during the late Miocene, and eventually migrated into Europe during the early Pliocene (where its fossils were first discovered). It became extinct prior to the Ice Age.
With a length of 4.3 metres (14 ft) and a shoulder height of 2.1 metres (6.9 ft) and with a weight of 3,900 kilograms (8,600 lb) H. gorgops was much larger than its living relative, H. amphibius. Another feature setting it apart from H. amphibius were its eyes. Modern hippos have eyes placed high on the skull, but H. gorgops took things a step further and had what could be described as short eye stalks, making it even easier for the creature to see its surroundings while (almost) fully under water.
- Petronio, C. (1995): Note on the taxonomy of Pleistocene hippopotamuses. Ibex 3: 53-55. PDF fulltext
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