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Temporal range: Pliocene to Holocene, 5–0.01 Ma
Sivatherium giganteus 2.JPG
Skull of S. giganteum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Giraffidae
Subfamily: Sivatheriinae
Genus: Sivatherium
Falconer & Cautley, 1836[1][2]
  • S. giganteum (type)
  •  ?S. hendeyi
  •  ?S. maurusium
  •  ?S. olduvaiense

Sivatherium ('Shiva's beast)' is an extinct genus of giraffid that ranged throughout Africa to the Indian Subcontinent. The African species, S. maurusium, was once placed within the genus "Libytherium." It may have become extinct as recently as 8,000 years ago, as depictions that greatly resemble it are known from ancient rock paintings in the Sahara desert.[3]


Modern, giraffe-like restoration in the MEPAN
Outdated, moose-like restoration

Sivatherium resembled the modern okapi, but was far larger, and more heavily built, being about 2.2 meters (7 ft 4 in) tall at the shoulder, 3 m (10 ft) in total height with a weight up to 500 kg.[4] It had a wide, antler-like pair of ossicones on its head, and a second pair of ossicones above its eyes. Its shoulders were very powerful to support the neck muscles required to lift the heavy skull.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sivatherium in the Paleobiology Database
  2. ^ Falconer, Hugh & P.T. Cautley (1836). "Sivatherium giganteum, a new fossil ruminant genus, from the valley of the Markanda, in the Sivalik branch of the Sub-Himalayan Mountains". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal: 38–50. 
  3. ^ a b Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 278. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 
  4. ^ (in Portuguese)

Further reading[edit]

  • Barry Cox, Colin Harrison, R.J.G. Savage, and Brian Gardiner. (1999): The Simon & Schuster Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures: A Visual Who's Who of Prehistoric Life. Simon & Schuster.
  • David Norman. (2001): The Big Book Of Dinosaurs. pg. 228, Walcome books.
  • After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) by Donald R. Prothero
  • The Evolution of Artiodactyls by Donald R. Prothero and Scott E. Foss
  • Vertebrate Palaeontology by Michael J. Benton and John Sibbick
  • Evolving Eden: An Illustrated Guide to the Evolution of the African Large Mammal Fauna by Alan Turner and Mauricio Anton
  • Classification of Mammals by Malcolm C. McKenna and Susan K. Bell \
  • The Book of Life: An Illustrated History of the Evolution of Life on Earth, Second Edition by Stephen Jay Gould
  • World Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures: The Ultimate Visual Reference To 1000 Dinosaurs And Prehistoric Creatures Of Land, Air And Sea ... And Cretaceous Eras (World Encyclopedia) by Dougal Dixon
  • Eyewitness: Prehistoric Life by William Lindsay
  • Walker's Mammals of the World (2-Volume Set) (Walker's Mammals of the World) by Ronald M. Nowak
  • Horns, Tusks, and Flippers: The Evolution of Hoofed Mammals by Donald R. Prothero and Robert M. Schoch

External links[edit]