Hippopotamus antiquus

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Hippopotamus antiquus
Temporal range: Pleistocene
Museo di paleologia, scheletro di hippopotamus antiquus, recuperato presso figline valdarno.JPG
Hippopotamus antiquus in Florence Palaeontology museum
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Hippopotamidae
Genus: Hippopotamus
H. antiquus
Binomial name
Hippopotamus antiquus

Hippopotamus antiquus, sometimes called the European hippopotamus, was a species of hippopotamus that ranged across Europe, becoming extinct some time before the last ice age at the end of the Pleistocene epoch.


H. antiquus ranged from the Iberian Peninsula to the British Isles to the Rhine River to Greece.[2][3]


Similar in size and form to Hippopotamus gorgops, H. antiquus on average was larger than the modern common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius). H. antiquus is believed to have first appeared around 1.8 million years ago, compared to 2 million years ago for H. amphibius. Beginning in the Middle Pleistocene, H. amphibius migrated into Europe and may have competed with this hippopotamus species for food. [4]

The Cretan Dwarf Hippopotamus (H. creutzburgi) is believed to have evolved from H. antiquus through the process of insular dwarfism on the island of Crete.


  1. ^ · Desmarest, A.G., 1822. Mammalogie ou description des espèces de mammifères. Mme Veuve Agasse imprimeur édit., Paris, 2ème part., pp.277-555.
  2. ^ van Kolfschoten, Th. (2000). "The Eemian mammal fauna of central Europe" (PDF). Netherlands Journal of Geosciences. 79 (2/3): 269–281.
  3. ^ "150 Years of Neanderthal Discoveries; Early Europeans - Continuity & Discontinuity," ed. von Koenigswald, Wighart and Thomas Litt, TERRA NOSTRA 2006/2 University of Bonn, in PDF Archived 2007-02-25 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Petronio, C. (1995): Note on the taxonomy of Pleistocene hippopotamuses. Ibex 3: 53-55. PDF fulltext Archived 2008-09-12 at the Wayback Machine