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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Elasmotherium:
  • find and add image
Nice one is on [1]. No idea about copyright, only the picture itself is visible. Pavel Vozenilek 07:47, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
  • discuss evolution
  • clean up


Why is this article tagged as cryptozoology? Do fossil species belong with mermaids and bigfoot? I think not. Any thoughts?Dmccabe 01:45, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Was it because some suspect that it survived into historical times?--Mr Fink 02:24, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
The latter conjecture is apparently correct, I think also. There is something similar in Indo-European, where roots that later refer to known animals apparently in reconstructed meaning refer to unknown awful beasts. I can see that as cryptic.Dave (talk) 23:48, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Other Species[edit]

Do we have any information on the other species of Elasmotherium?--Mr Fink 03:57, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Ibn Fadlan's account[edit]

I've compared it to the arabic (original) text found in arabic wikisource and its quite accurate (i think the translation isn't PD yet so its hard to find full english text online). However I want to point out that Ibn fadlan then say (immediately after the text cited here ends) "ذكر بعض أهل البلد أنه الكركدن." which means "some of the locals said it was a rhinoceros."

So he might be just describing a rhino (which seems to me that he knew the name but never saw one) not an Elasmotherium.

Just my 2 cents. --Histolo2 (talk) 22:21, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Very interesting; thanks for digging that up. I'm going to add that to the end of the quoted text. You don't happen to know if a complete English translation has been published, do you? Regards, ClovisPt (talk) 23:08, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
I believe the english title is: Ibn Fadlan's Journey To Russia translated by Richard N. Frye. ISBN 155876366X. here you could find a used version in a reasonable price (if u r from the US, shipping will cost a lot otherwise) also try amazon alternatively look for it in a public library. Since this is not an ebook, hence no search funcion :(, you have to find the section yourself 9if you chose to do so) i'll help you by saying the arabic book is devided into 4 sections: intro, turks, saqaliba, russians. the passage we are looking for is towards the end of sawaliba (~4-5 paragraphs later the russians sectin begins). --Histolo2 (talk) 11:36, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I digged up a little further, the book is found in google books and i will replace the pragraph with the published translation translation. Also in page 102 the translator comments: "It is difficult to believe that a rhinoceros existed in the forests of north Russia at this time. (Do we have the fanciful story of a unicorn in the land of Gog and Magog, or does the story told by Ibn Fadlan refer to a kind of elk?)" can this be used as a reference in the article (i'm not sure). --Histolo2 (talk) 12:04, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
I say no. We don't want to slant the text against the possibility of Elasmotherium being there. If we were going to do that, the section would not belong in this article, as we would be presenting it as a known myth. It seems to me the text makes it clear that this is only a possibility and leaves it up to the reader to decide. That seems most appropriate to me. Frankly I like it and I'm known to be hard to please. Before you rush to judgement, remember, a number of species much older than Elasmotherium were believed extinct but were discovered in remote places. How do you know what is in Siberia? Not too many people go there very often. I got no doubt there are places not seen by people since the Ice Age. It definitely is currently more inacessible than the Amazon. And as far as bigfoot is concerned, if you travelled that lonely but magnificent road leading from Lake Louise over the Selkirks you might arrive at the conclusion that there is plenty of room on earth yet for cryptic species.Dave (talk) 13:21, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Paleobiology removal[edit]

I had no other choice than to remove this subsection. It is taken mostly word for word from the Noskova source and is a clear case of plagiarism. The picture should come off as well because it is not E. caucasicum but an imaginary composite. If you read Noskova's material, you see that the "steppe hypothesis" has never been questioned, right from the beginning. He throws in this minor suggestion by Borissjak based on one questionable suggestion concerning diet. Those Russians like to stick together. He does not even believe it himself. His whole presentation of the development of E. from China contradicts the "riparian" view. The vast grasslands of Eurasia were not primarily riparian. He is just being nice to Borissjak. I don't see any reason at all for a section such as this with a fake picture and a fake name. I'm going to put the few facts in it in the description above. Whoever larded it up with requests for references could see that something is wrong but apparently did not discover the plagiarism. Please, don't plagiarize. Anyone can look up Noskova on the Internet. Do we really want WP to be another hack site cluttering up the network? Spend your time doing the research work, don't waste it on hack-up work. Thanks.Dave (talk) 09:15, 25 March 2011 (UTC)


Elasmotherium caucasicum

Morphological peculiarities of elasmotherians have generated two main hypotheses concerning their appearance and the character of their habitat. The first, most widely accepted view[citation needed] which was also described above, portrays them as large woolly animals with a large forehead horn that thrived on an open steppe. Fossils of the horn, however, have not been found. The other view[citation needed] assigns elasmotherians to riparian biotopes. It is probable that elasmotherians dwelt in both riparian and steppe biotope[citation needed]. The riparian biotope is suggested by dental and skull morphology. The combination of such characteristics as the absence of canines and strongly developed lateral processes of the atlas implies lateral movements of the head, presumably for grasping grass. The hypsodont dentition indicates presence of mineral grains in the food. Such food could be obtained by pulling out dense plants from the moist soil. These conditions are typical for riparian biotopes. On the other hand, a steppe biotope is indicated by their rather long and slender limbs, which would have served well for creatures grazing over vast areas.

How do you know the image is an "imaginary composite"? And why not just rephrase the text? FunkMonk (talk) 11:25, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I looked up its original location on the Internet and read what was said about it there, of which only part had been brought into commons. The artist used caucasicum as a model and shows the full horn, where sibiricum had a diminished horn. I believe it was flickr but I am not sure. If you cannot find it I will look it up again. In any case I put in a link to all the pictures in the commons category.
I am not actually done with this section, which is a bit more complicated due to the developments of the last few years. The Russians seem to be getting hot on Elasmotherium. I don't want to break my stride at the moment (more nearly like a slow pace) and lose the thread but if it turns out to be an issue I am sure we can resolve it. Someone should check the other pictures as well.
I'm sure I am not done discovering inaccuracies and plagiarisms on this. The tag at the top alerted us that something was wrong. As for the riparian business, well I am going to work that in under description. It is worth about a sentence and must attribute the view to the source, which is now in the notes. I don't see it as paleobiology. I see it as paleoecology but description is very short and it seems to me it could all go together. I have not got to that yet.
Why not just rephrase it? I don't know what you mean by rephrase. We aren't going to use the original; that is plagiarism. That is out. Sorry, them's the rules. I've seen whole articles deleted for not much more than that. I did not put on the plagiarism tag as that might have caused a huge furor. In plagiarism, you can't just modify a couple of words, because you are still basing it on the original. I don't know what I have to say to get this point across, you can't just copy other people's work. That is against the law. The editor might have quoted it with attribution but it looks a little too long for that; he would have needed permission. I just plan to put the idea in being careful to cite the author. The idea is that the hypsodont teeth might be a result of grinding plants from a riparian environment with heavier soil. The long legs indicate a grasslands trotter, but that point already has been covered. No, you did not write this and there is no rule that I or anyone else have to stick to some plagiarized text. Ciao.Dave (talk) 03:12, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
PS. Hello there funkmunk. As I was looking at it again I saw the logical spot to put the concept. The question is really the cause of the hypsodonty. So, it should go after the "grass" explanation. I am going to put that in now. Also, I notice you are more of picture lion. Why don't you see if you can find some artist's renditions of Elasmotherium or some art, oil paintings, sculpture, whatever, to grace the article or the category in commons? You have to use pics for which permission has been given or the copyright has expired, but you must know that already. We can't just copy other people's art either.Dave (talk) 09:56, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Heh, I know the rules of Wikipedia and Commons very well, so no need to lecture me, but when I say "rephrase", it should be pretty clear that this implies completely rewriting the section, so that it includes the same information, but with wording that is different enough for it not to be plagiarism. And as for the picture, here is the artist's description on Deviantart, says the horn is based on a cave painting, so I don't see what the problem is: And a problem with the current article is that it doe snot mention that no actual horn has been found, and its existence is inferred based on a bump on the snout. I can't find any on-line refs for it though. FunkMonk (talk) 10:58, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I accept everything you say. I have done no work on description but I see you have started it. Why don't you go on with it? I will finish checking out my excellent abstracts source and then look at the unicorn stuff, but at this point it looks pretty good. Maybe we can get the first "good" article of the Mammals portal.Dave (talk) 13:54, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I'll see what I can do, but it's hard finding references, I do not have journal access. What I find is just through Google. Apart from the problem of not mentioning that no horn is actually known, we should also use only inline citations, not just have them listed under references. As for free pictures, I know where I can find several ones, but there is currently not much room left in the article, so I'll wait until it is expanded. FunkMonk (talk) 15:32, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Dropping two species[edit]

Nice going, buddy. I was prepared become excited and revert your changes. What is more, my reader would not read the Chinese, so I thought, what is this person trying to pull? Finally I got the Chinese fonts loaded and read the English part of the source. All right, we are dropping the Chinese species; however, some mention of them as past authoritative species should be in. I have a few comments, two major. Let's do the major ones first. As I pointed out in the article, the situation changes frequently, which means that the later sources supersede the earlier. My Russian sources are very good and they are dated 2008, 2009, 2010. Unfortunately they do not tell us clearly that the Chinese ones were merged. Fine, they may have thought it was obvious. However, they are pretty clear about chaprovicum and your source is only 2005. I want to put chaprovicum back in and unless you give me a good reason why not will do it.

My second point is, my whole write up was based on a Chinese origin and two Chinese species. I thought it was rather strange that Sinotherium was most like some species in India, but who am I to question. I need to go over that now and alter, possibly rewrite, based on this new information you have so cleverly ferreted out.

For the minor points, I agree with your other changes, such as moving up the description. Now, one more thing. I hate to lecture you as you clearly do not like it, but your reference specifications are not according to Doyle, or the regulations, or whatever you want to call the things. Help files. Policies. You hould be using "cite web" and "cite journal" and "cite book" and templates like that. Of course I do not need to remind you that you can look them up by search parameters such as "template:cite web" You already know all that stuff. Ipresume you did not use the proper templates because you were in a hurry. As I rewrite I may assist you in that.

I'm starting the working week now so I have things to do here and can't spend all my time on WP. Again thanks for locating that source with information taken for granted by later sources. We'll fix this thing yet.Dave (talk) 02:27, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

On citation templates, I'm under the impression that we have bots for doing that actually, they seem to drop by once in a while and convert bare references. For the rest, yeah. FunkMonk (talk) 10:12, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
You appear to have seized the initiative from me on this article (to use a military term). That's all right with me. In fact, that is just fine. I'm going to go over it cleaning up and doing some of the things you are reluctant to do. When it seems all right to me I think I will nominate this for a good article. That is something I have never done before; perhaps it is time I started. I'm supposed to be a reviewer. Since you are hot on this I will be communicating over the minor matters. Then I have to get back to the Stone Age in my time machine.Dave (talk) 10:37, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Heh, since Wikipedia is a collaborative effort, I don't see how anyone is "seizing" anything. If something is agreed upon on the talk page, it should be irrelevant whoever makes the edit. FunkMonk (talk) 10:44, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
It's a figure of speech, go for it or not. WP is supposed to be a collaborative effort. I have not found it to be that except in rare instances such as this. Typically it turns into a war of the words. When the admins get involved any thought of collaboration at any level is totally vacant. They make arbotrary decisions, in my opinion usually bad, and in effect dare anyone to do anything about it. Bad form. But, that is the way WP is. But, this is a large topic. The people who work at the more general levels know there is a problem. There is a gap between the real and the ideal. If you have not yet encountered it, I would say, stay as sweet as you are (figure of speech). Enough of that. For the bot's and the citations, bot's are only able to fix minor points of a citation. That is the only time I have ever seen them. And yet, the citations are a critical part of the article. If you look at our sources, at the end you will see bibiographies of dozens of items for just a few pages of article. So, it all has to be set up by hand. In reviewing an article I always start with the cites. There we can see if the editor is serious about doing a professional-type article, and if not he/she needs to be made aware of the fact that WP is looking for good articles of professional quality. Ciao.Dave (talk) 11:25, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, I'm just here to help, I don't really have much access to references beyond what I've found, but I'll add material if I find some. FunkMonk (talk) 10:53, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I keep finding stuff. The question is what is of professional quality. I think the juxtaposition of the cave painting with the reconstruction based on it is really good. Maybe some tweaking of the layout might be good. I go for larger pictures so one can see them but one has to consider the overall balance at different window widths.Dave (talk) 07:39, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure if images should be bigger, the manual of style argues against that. Such is mostly reserved for diagrams and other images containing text. FunkMonk (talk) 16:20, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, use your judgement. The manual suggests no bigger than 300px. I made them 250, but of course if you can make the layout better, by all means do.Dave (talk) 13:01, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
First published restoration (1878) of Elasmotherium sibiricum, by Rashevsky, under supervision of A.F. Brant
If they were made default size, there would be more room for other images. I have an interesting one here, the first ever restoration of Elasmotherium, from 1878. FunkMonk (talk) 20:02, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Well that picture looks pretty darn good to me. I'd like to reiterate, I'm not fixated on any layout. Change it the way it seems best to you. I am about to launch into a rewrite of the description - not immediately, soon - which may give you additional picture space.Dave (talk) 17:55, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
It's in. A problem I can see with the current article is that there is now info in the lead that is not found in the main text, should probably be moved to a "discovery" section", and worse yet, there are two long passages in French with no hint at translation! FunkMonk (talk) 00:22, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
The question of the translation has been causing me to ponder. But, since you the public would like it I put it in. I didn't wish to clutter up the article with too many passages so I put it in the notes, which is a legitimate use of notes. You cite some sort of principle about what goes in the preview. I never saw any such rule of WP. I don't like one-sentence previews. They give the article an asymmetric appearance and besides most of the time you cannot say anything at all in one sentence so you are forced to make up some incomprehensible baloney to fill the gap. But, I'm willing to be reasonable as long as you are. It isn't bad your way. By the way I just saw this now so my response is a bit delayed.Dave (talk) 14:16, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
You're misunderstanding me, I'm not saying the intro should be shorter, but that info found there should also be found in the main text, though in elaborated form. See As for the French, it could be kept in, but with an accompanying translation, otherwise it's rather useless on the English Wikipedia. As for more sections, all featured articles about extinct animals appear to have discovery/history sections. FunkMonk (talk) 14:20, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
OK sounds reasonable. If you or anyone can think of more preview-type things to say in correct and relevant English that is fine. The translations are now in the notes. If you want them in the text you are going to have to put them there because I like the notes better. You almost sound like you have seen something I have said in some other article discussions. That is not good. This discussion is this discussion. Period. What I did is remove refs in Chinese, Hungarian or Russian script, with the note that they were useless to the English WP, which they are. Many languages of Europe are in Roman script and the languages are sufficiently like English for short sentences to be comprehensible. Moreover, the sentences I quote are short, not in any way long, as YOU say. English often uses words and expressions from other languages and Greek is a sine qua non for the educated English person. However, I'm all for writing to a simple level so your changes, if not your discussion, seems reasonable. Keep in mind, as I am trying to do, this is going to be reviewed for a good article.Dave (talk) 14:44, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Huh? I've never encountered your comments before this article. I mainly edit palaeontology related articles. I'm saying the things about language because I believe it would be brought up during review and would have to be changed anyway, not as some kind of vague insult. FunkMonk (talk) 15:27, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
All right. I'm a little gunshy. Some people have not been too polite on WP. I would say, then, that WP often has a tendency to put material in that is difficult for English speakers and that is noted by some if not many of us. Like effect like cause. On the language, I would say, put it the way you want. Another thing to do would be to put the English up and the original as a quote in the reference. I think the original words are important to add professional quality to the article. This is the original definition of the beast. I've been looking at this article for a long time now but there is still more material to cover, such as the horn. Maybe I don't see things others do. I probably would not object if you arranged things the way you would like if you can decide what that is. I got some things to do now so I will not be on this right awayDave (talk) 17:06, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
I think you're doing a great job so far, I don't have issues with anything I haven't mentioned. So keep up the good work! FunkMonk (talk) 17:25, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Flannery reference[edit]

  • Flannery, Tim (2010). Here on Earth: An Argument for Hope. Text Publishing Company. ISBN 9781921656668. 

I changed this reference to one more accessible, more professional, and I am sure just as good. The above reference does not have a page number and is not on line. In fact it is inaccessible in either Google or Amazon. The title is less than professional and leads me to think the book is a long essay rather than a scientific work. I could go through the long process of questioning and tagging this reference but it hardly seems worth the trouble when so many good ones are readily available. I would like to get on and nominate this article as good.Dave (talk) 13:43, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

The zhi[edit]

This link goes to the wrong place. The article linked does not even mention unicorns. I find on the Internet that there are many Zhi characters. We have to get the right one; moreover, the Zhi unicorn is one of a number of Chinese unicorns, not all of them Elasmotherium-like at all. So, I will have to rewrite parts of that section to provide sufficient referenced detail to make sense. We're lookin for representations and reports that could be Elasmotherium and not all unicorns are that.Dave (talk) 15:01, 30 March 2011 (UTC)


I'm looking at it now. The description seems pretty much in deficit of verification. I don't know where it came from and the editor is not telling us. Highly suspect is the phrase "on average." How would the editor know what the average is? Has some study been done on all the fossils to determine the average statistics? That is what we would need to be scientific. Moreover, would that average apply to all 3 species? I'm looking at some reconstructions. The figures given in the WP article do not match any of those. Who says that the feet enabled it to run like a horse? I've seen the long legs used as a basis for saying that it was a runner. Someone else says it was a marsh animal and the splayed feet kept it from sinking in. So, you guessed it, this will have to be rewritten. If anyone knows the source of these "average" numbers, let us know. Otherwise I will have to wing it from the sources available to me. I don't think we should be highly paleontological as the public will not understand that. We will have to translate the paleontological lingo, I think.Dave (talk) 17:50, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Oh, for the horn, well, there is some evidence. On one skull there was an injury at the base of the horn bump where some trapezoidal object pierced the bone there. It was partly healed so it did not cause the death of the animal. Best explanation is some sort of male duelling with the horns, such as we see in all other horned animals. I got a good ref on it. It is recent. Before then you are right, all evidence was conjectural based on the bony base of the horn. I'm coming to all that. Whew, it takes a long time to research these things. A university library with all the journals is what the professionals have. They are not interested in us, however, so we have to make do.Dave (talk) 13:34, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Nice, but from there to saying the horns "reached 2 meters in length" is quite a stretch, not sure how that conclusion was made. FunkMonk (talk) 15:10, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I need to do the calculation but the idea was to use the black rhino as a model. If the base of our horn was, say, double the area of the black rhino base, then the horn might be presumed to be twice as long. This is taking long but it cannot be helped.Dave (talk) 16:24, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Interestingly, it has also often been restored with just a bump on the snout, don't know if that is considered an option anymore. FunkMonk (talk) 16:44, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Well the two options are of course mutually exclusive. The bump appears on the aquatic reconstruction. The occurence of some fossils in swamps are used to support that. However, if the animals were getting mired down in swamps, how can they be riverine? They would all drown in the swamps. The bump idea does not appear supported by any theory. What's the bump for? It seems to have blood vessels all around it, but to what purpose would the animal have a blood-rich bump? It makes no sense. But, I have to go one small step at a time. I have not really started to delve into the horn business yet. I'm going to do the hypsodont teeth next. There is a correlation between grass-eaters and high-crowned teeth, which is why the animal is compared to a horse, which also has hypsodont teeth. Imagine this big beast going around with his head down, unable to get it very far off the ground, encountering a rival for the services of a female or a predator. He uses his huge muscular hump to toss his head and - what? Hit the rival with his blood-rich bump? He does, and then he starts to bleed to death, and all the predator has to to is wait until he falls down. Besides, all the other Rhinoceratidae have horns on those bumps, whether one or two. But, I'm only guessing. I need to see what the paleontologists are saying so's I can follow the lead.Dave (talk) 20:53, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
There's kind of a dinosaur equivalent with a bump actually, Pachyrhinosaurus. It was also hypothesized to have had a huge keratinous horn at one point, but this has been abandoned. FunkMonk (talk) 23:53, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
All right. Haven't started the horn yet. Will consider the "other bump" theory. In the absence of any fossil horns, it seems to be a preponderance of evidence type of thing. I'm getting into this with the grazing now. A few general observations: Rhinocerotidae are horned with one to three horns, missing only rarely. Second the bumps appear to be sexually dimorphic. Some bumps in the same species are smaller. The best explanation is a smaller female horn. Third, I have not yet seen an explanation of a pure bump. Why would you discard a preponderant theory for an unknown? I believe the dinosaur bumps are used for tooting but mammale don't toot from that end of the intestines. This is only my initial thinking. As I say, the research needs to done. I'm trying to go in with an open mind. I dare say there is almost no one defending the "other bump" view. They present instead charts of Perissodactl horns of every size shape and description. But, if the topic is really open, it ought to be open on here as well.Dave (talk) 12:36, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

The large thick horn[edit]

Well, hello. What's the difference between large and thick? I presume it is length. I have not researched the horn yet so officially I would not know. Was it thick or thin? Well since I have not yet checked it out I have nothing better to offer (yet). I have cursorily seen a thin-horn theory. I will be checking out concepts of the horn. We may have to qualify the language. This is just a heads-up. Sorry to move so slowly - but carefully, I hope.Dave (talk) 14:14, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

2-meter horn[edit]

I think I'm going to have to give up on the 2 meters. No one seems to have any idea where it comes from. A small number of sources give 2 meters, such as Stephen Jay Gould. None of the technical articles to which I can get access tell us how to estimate the size of the horn. The two meters is not early. It does not appear in 19th century works at all. It seems to be associated with reconstructions. Nor are there any other estimates or formulae for ascertaining the size of the horn. Now, we can find a reference, such as Gould, who says, 2 meters. I for one cannot find any explanation of this number. My tendency therefore is to abandon the 2 meters. It seems to be either that or use one of the sources who parrot it, perhaps even Gould. What do you think? I've tried to put the thinking behind the reconstruction in as much as possible, but this one shows no sign of having any thought behind it. It is just a number plucked out of the air. There might well be a correlation somewhere with some factor or other. It is so obscure as not to appear on the Internet, which seems strange, as you can get all the detailed measurements of the leg bones, the skull, the horn boss, the dimensions of the teeth in mm. So, let us know if you would like to parrot the 2 m or just let the length go and be happy with "large," which is what everyone else says.Dave (talk) 05:19, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

I think large would be enough. FunkMonk (talk) 14:46, 7 October 2012 (UTC)