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Temporal range: Middle Eocene to Early Miocene,[1] 47–23 Ma
Paraceratherium skull
Reconstructed Paraceratherium skull.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Hyracodontidae
Subfamily: Indricotheriinae
Borissiak, 1923
  • Paraceratheriinae Osborn, 1923
  • Baluchitheriinae Osborn, 1923
  • Indricotheriidae Borissiak, 1939
  • Forstercooperiidae Kretzoi, 1940[2]
  • Forstercooperiinae Wood, 1963[2]

Indricotheriinae is a subfamily of Hyracodontidae, a group of long-limbed, hornless rhinoceroses that evolved in the Eocene epoch and continued through to the early Miocene. The earlier hyracodontid species, such as Hyracodon were modest-sized, fast-running, lightly built animals with little similarity to modern rhinos.[3] However, during the late Eocene and early Oligocene, the indricotherines evolved, and quickly grew to huge sizes.[4] They flourished in the rainforests of a coastal region that became Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and southwest China, and lived further inland throughout central Asia as well.

The indricotherines reached the peak of their evolution from the middle Oligocene through to the early Miocene, where they had become enlarged mammals, represented by the specialized genera Indricotherium and Paraceratherium (these genera may be synonymous, but several distinct species probably remain valid). These were among the largest land mammals that ever lived. However, they remained confined to central Asia, which at the time was part of a large, lush lowland region. The collision with the Indian subcontinent and the Himalayan uplift led to global cooling, desertification, and the disappearance of forest habitats, which resulted in the extinction of these giant ungulates. Certain unidentified species may have lived in Mongolia and a number of locations in Russia.


  1. ^ a b c Lucas, S.G.; Sobus, J.C. (1989). "The Systematics of Indricotheres". In Prothero, D. R.; Schoch, R. M. The Evolution of Perissodactyls. New York, New York & Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 358–378. ISBN 978-0-19-506039-3. OCLC 19268080. 
  2. ^ a b Wood, H.E. (1963). "A Primitive Rhinoceros from the Late Eocene of Mongolia". American Museum Novitates (2146): 1–12. 
  3. ^ Savage, RJG, & Long, MR (1986). Mammal Evolution: an illustrated guide. New York: Facts on File. pp. 192–193. ISBN 0-8160-1194-X. 
  4. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. pp. 262–263. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 

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