Stephanorhinus

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Stephanorhinus
Temporal range: Middle to Late Pleistocene
Dicerorhinus etruscus.JPG
S. etruscus skull
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Rhinocerotidae
Genus: Stephanorhinus
Species
  • S. etruscus
  • S. jeanvireti
  • S. hundsheimensis
  • S. hemitoechus Narrow-nosed Rhinoceros
  • S. kirchbergensis (Jäger, 1839) Merck's rhinoceros

Stephanorhinus is an extinct genus of rhinoceros native to northern Eurasia that lived during the Lower to Early Late Pleistocene epoch. It had two horns and was a relatively large rhino. It weighed over 3,000 kg (6,613 lbs) and measured about 1.80 – 2 m tall and 3.20 – 4 m in length, having a size similar to a white rhino.[1]

Species and distribution[edit]

S. hemitoechus skull

In the late Pleistocene, there were two species of Stephanorhinus in Eurasia, the large Merck's rhinoceros Stephanorhinus kirchbergensis and the narrow-nosed rhinoceros Stephanorhinus hemiotoechus. Both species may have evolved from Stepahnorhinus etruscus. However, it remains unclear whether another species, Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis, also fits in this evolutionary line. This rhino, which lived in the early and middle Pleistocene in the western palaearctic, could also have been a European side branch, derived from the pliocene rhino Stephanorhiuns jeanvireti. It was probably a relatively unspecialised animal, evolved for grazing and browsing. When about 600.000 years ago the two new rhino species S. kirchbergensis and S. hemiotechus arrived in Europe it disappeared. The arrival of a specialized browser and a specialized grazer was probably hard competition for this generalist.[2]

S. kirchbergensis preferred forest or woodland habitats, while S. hemitoechus was probably adapted to more open habitats.[3] S. kirchbergensis is relatively rare in fossil record and known from few Italian, French, German, British, and East-European localities, mostly of the middle Pleistocene. In Asia it is known from Siberia, Western Asia (e.g. southeastern Kazakhstan), Central Korea, and China. It may have also occurred in Israel and Lebanon, but here it is unclear if it was really S. kirchbergensis or a similar species.[4] In eastern China S. kirchbergensis was present throughout the Pleistocene between 30°N and 40°N.[5]

S. kirchbergensis restoration

In eastern Europe S. kirchbergensis disappeared during the earliest Late Pleistocene, where it is recorded in the Eemian in Poland. In the Forests of the Caucasus it may have survived even until the early Weichselian. The last occurrences are known from Spain, where it survived until the middle or early Late Weichselian. The narrow-nosed rhinoceros appeared in Europe in the early middle Pleistocene. It is known here from many localities between, Spain, Italy, Germany and the British Islands. Apart from Europe it is also known from Syria, Israel, the Caucasus and from one late Pleistocene locality close to Lake Baikal. This is the easternmost point of the known range. The latest fossils of the narrow-nosed rhinoceros are known from the Balkan, where it survived until the early late Weichselian[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://prehistoria.urv.es/files/dossier_expo_ninots.pdf
  2. ^ Ralf-Dietrich Kahlke und Thomas M. Kaiser: Generalism as a subsistence strategy: advantages and limitations of the highly flexible feeding traits of Pleistocene Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis (Rhinocerotidae, Mammalia). Quaternary Science Reviews 30, 2011, S. 2250–2261 [1] doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.12.012
  3. ^ a b Diana Pushkina: The Pleistocene easternmost distribution in Eurasia of the species associated with the Eemian Palaeoloxodon antiquus assemblage. Mammal Review, 2007. Volume 37 Issue 3, Pages 224 - 245
  4. ^ Emmanuel M.E. Billia: Revision of the fossil material attributed to Stephanorhinus kirchbergensis' (Jäger 1839) (Mammalia, Rhinocerotidae) preserved in the museum collections of the Russian Federation. Quaternary International. Volume 179, Issue 1, March 2008, Pages 25-37
  5. ^ Pierre Olivier Antoine: Pleistocene and holocene rhinocerotids (Mammalia, Perissodactyla) from the Indochinese Peninsula. In: Comptes Rendus Palevol. 2011, S. 1–10.