History UsefulNotes / PrehistoricLIfeMammals

26th Apr '16 11:26:12 PM MrMediaGuy2
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It's always been bad news with bears? [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_bear Cave Bear]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short-faced_bear Short-faced Bear]]

* Bears are a very recent group. They have roamed our planet for only 5 to 10 million years. Many prehistoric bears were rather different than our grizzlies: for example, the North American short-faced bear (''Arctodus'') had long limbs and a [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin bulldog-like snout]] and was probably an agile runner and specialized hunter. The most famous extinct bear is, however, the cave bear (''Ursus spelaeus''), whose remains are extremely abundant in European caves. Quite similar to a modern kodiak in shape and size, but with a bigger hump on its shoulder and a more prominent skull, the cave bear is often portrayed as [[BearsAreBadNews the archenemy of Neanderthals]], because both lived in the same places (Pleistocene Europe) and were forced to share the same caves to repair themselves from the rigid Ice Age winters. But it's more probable that Neanderthals (and humans) were actually the worst enemies of cave bears, and some think they could even have contributed to cave bears' extinction.

Big Badass Wolfhyenas: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dire_wolf Dire Wolf]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_hyena Cave Hyena]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachycrocuta Giant Hyena]], and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borophagus Borophagus]]''

* Prehistoric wolves and hyenas were not so different-looking than ours, but sometimes were larger. The dire wolf (''Canis dirus'') was a sort of wolf bigger than ours, possibly a hunter of giant bison in competition with lions. It has been often found in the same tar pits in which ''Smilodon'' remains have been discovered, along with several other American mammals (elephant relatives, ground sloths, but modern-living mammals as well); the most famous is ''Rancho la Brea'', in Los Angeles. Of course, not all extinct dogs were large, don't forget there were fox ancestors as well. Among extinct hyenas (which by the way, are more closely related to cats than dogs) we can mention the cave hyena, similar to modern spotted hyenas but living in northern territories during the Ice Ages. Other hyena species were very different: some were as large as bears, others resembled more cheetah or even weasels! On the other hand, some extinct canines were deceptively hyena-like: ''Borophagus'' from the Middle Cenozoic is one example, while the archaic ''Hesperocyon'' was more weasel-like. As a side-note: all modern domestic dogs from Chihuahuas to Great Danes descend from the grey wolf, no matter how big they are or how they look; an amazingly rapid evolution, really, lasted only few thousands years.

to:

It's always been bad news with bears? [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_bear Cave Bear]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short-faced_bear Short-faced Bear]]

* Bears are a very recent group. They have roamed our planet for only 5 to 10 million years. Many prehistoric bears were rather different than our grizzlies: for example, the North American short-faced bear (''Arctodus'') had long limbs and a [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin bulldog-like snout]] and was probably an agile runner and specialized hunter. The most famous extinct bear is, however, the cave bear (''Ursus spelaeus''), whose remains are extremely abundant in European caves. Quite similar to a modern kodiak in shape and size, but with a bigger hump on its shoulder and a more prominent skull, the cave bear is often portrayed as [[BearsAreBadNews the archenemy of Neanderthals]], because both lived in the same places (Pleistocene Europe) and were forced to share the same caves to repair themselves from the rigid Ice Age winters. But it's more probable that Neanderthals (and humans) were actually the worst enemies of cave bears, and some think they could even have contributed to cave bears' extinction.

hunter.

Big Badass Wolfhyenas: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dire_wolf Dire Wolf]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_hyena Cave Hyena]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachycrocuta Giant Hyena]], and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borophagus Borophagus]]''

* Prehistoric wolves and hyenas were not so different-looking than ours, but sometimes were larger. The [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs dire wolf wolf]] (''Canis dirus'') was a sort of wolf bigger than ours, possibly a hunter of giant bison in competition with lions. It has been often found in the same tar pits in which ''Smilodon'' remains have been discovered, along with several other American mammals (elephant relatives, ground sloths, but modern-living mammals as well); the most famous is ''Rancho la Brea'', in Los Angeles.ours. Of course, not all extinct dogs were large, don't forget there were fox ancestors as well. Among extinct hyenas (which by the way, are more closely related to cats than dogs) we can mention the cave hyena, similar to modern spotted hyenas but living in northern territories during the Ice Ages. Other hyena species were very different: some were as large as bears, others resembled more cheetah or even weasels! On the other hand, some extinct canines were deceptively hyena-like: ''Borophagus'' from the Middle Cenozoic is one example, while the archaic ''Hesperocyon'' was more weasel-like. As a side-note: all modern domestic dogs from Chihuahuas to Great Danes descend from the grey wolf, no matter how big they are or how they look; an amazingly rapid evolution, really, lasted only few thousands years.



Woolly unicorns and their relatives: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolly_rhinoceros Woolly Rhino]], ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elasmotherium Elasmotherium]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleoceras Teleoceras]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menoceras Menoceras]]'',

to:

Woolly unicorns and their relatives: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolly_rhinoceros Woolly Rhino]], True rhinos: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elasmotherium Elasmotherium]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleoceras Teleoceras]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menoceras Menoceras]]'',



* Modern rhinos are often referred as "prehistoric-looking" in media (and the genus now housing the White Rhino (''Ceratotherium'') dates back 7 million years). Many classic prehistoric mammals were indeed rhino-looking though with different horn-shapes (the aforementioned six-horned ''Uintatherium'' and the fork-horned ''Megacerops'' are the most well-known examples), but only some of the extinct "rhinoceroses" were ''really'' such. Among them, the most spectacular were the Woolly Rhino, the Unicorn Rhino, and above all, the Indricothere (ironically, this one wasn't so rhino-looking). The Unicorn (''Elasmotherium sibiricum'') is often confused with the Woolly (''Coelodonta antiquitatis'') because of their similar appearance: however, the latter was no larger than modern white rhinos and had ''two'' horns as well; ''Elasmotherium'' was much larger (5 tons, like a modern bush elephant) and with one single horn... perhaps as long as a grown man, and put on the front rather than upon the nose: hence [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin unicorn rhinoceros]]. Both lived in the Ice Age in cold climates, alongside mammoths in northern Asia, but the elasmothere had a more southerly range than the woolly rhino, and while both lived east of the Urals, only the woolly rhino was found in Europe[[note]]Possibly. There's [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elasmotherium#Western_Eurasia one cave painting]] that might stretch ''Elasmotherium'''s range as far as France[[/note]]; the latter lived alongside the other, more popular woolly, ([[RhetoricalQuestionBlunder guess what]]). Interestingly, both woollies have left soft parts of their bodies other than bones, hair included. The "unicorn rhinoceros" is often said to have been the inspiration of the {{Unicorn}} myths found all over Eurasia in one form or another when still alive, but this is probably a legend. Possibly. There's a chance the unicorn rhino might have lived into historic times, but the anecdotes and depictions of these creatures might just as well refer to one-horned bulls or animals frozen in the permafrost like mammoths are known to have been. Once again, it appears humans did these things in just as things were getting better. Other more primitive rhinos include the short-limbed hippo-shaped ''Teleoceras'' (whose remains are extremely abundant in Middle Cenozoic North America), the forked-horned ''Menoceras'' (similarly to the distantly-related brontotheres), and the no-horned ''Aceratherium''. (acera = with no horns). Other prehistoric true rhinos has unusual features such as prominent tusk-like lower incisors, still others were very small for rhino standards, not bigger than a sheep (and they were not insular forms), and potential preys even for small carnivores -- contrasting with the almost-invulnerable modern animals. A group of close relatives of rhinos, the amynodontids (among these ''Metamynodon'') were no-horned, hippo-looking and probably similar to hippopotamuses in habits. About indricotheres (or paraceratheres, depending on who you ask), they deserve their own entry below.

to:

* Modern rhinos are often referred as "prehistoric-looking" in media (and the genus now housing the White Rhino (''Ceratotherium'') dates back 7 million years). Many classic prehistoric mammals were indeed rhino-looking though with different horn-shapes (the aforementioned six-horned ''Uintatherium'' and the fork-horned ''Megacerops'' are the most well-known examples), but only some of the extinct "rhinoceroses" were ''really'' such. Among them, the most spectacular were the [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Woolly Rhino, the Unicorn Rhino, Rhino]], and above all, the Indricothere (ironically, this one wasn't so rhino-looking). The Unicorn (''Elasmotherium sibiricum'') is often confused with the Woolly (''Coelodonta antiquitatis'') because of their similar appearance: however, the latter was no larger than modern white rhinos and had ''two'' horns as well; ''Elasmotherium'' was much larger (5 tons, like a modern bush elephant) and with one single horn... perhaps as long as a grown man, and put on the front rather than upon the nose: hence [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin unicorn rhinoceros]]. Both lived in the Ice Age in cold climates, alongside mammoths in northern Asia, but the elasmothere had a more southerly range than the woolly rhino, and while both lived east of the Urals, only the woolly rhino was found in Europe[[note]]Possibly. There's [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elasmotherium#Western_Eurasia one cave painting]] that might stretch ''Elasmotherium'''s range as far as France[[/note]]; the latter lived alongside the other, more popular woolly, ([[RhetoricalQuestionBlunder guess what]]). Interestingly, both woollies have left soft parts of their bodies other than bones, hair included. The "unicorn rhinoceros" is often said to have been the inspiration of the {{Unicorn}} myths found all over Eurasia in one form or another when still alive, but this is probably a legend. Possibly. There's a chance the unicorn rhino might have lived into historic times, but the anecdotes and depictions of these creatures might just as well refer to one-horned bulls or animals frozen in the permafrost like mammoths are known to have been. Once again, it appears humans did these things in just as things were getting better.rhino-looking). Other more primitive rhinos include the short-limbed hippo-shaped ''Teleoceras'' (whose remains are extremely abundant in Middle Cenozoic North America), the forked-horned ''Menoceras'' (similarly to the distantly-related brontotheres), and the no-horned ''Aceratherium''. (acera = with no horns). Other prehistoric true rhinos has unusual features such as prominent tusk-like lower incisors, still others were very small for rhino standards, not bigger than a sheep (and they were not insular forms), and potential preys even for small carnivores -- contrasting with the almost-invulnerable modern animals. A group of close relatives of rhinos, the amynodontids (among these ''Metamynodon'') were no-horned, hippo-looking and probably similar to hippopotamuses in habits. About indricotheres (or paraceratheres, depending on who you ask), they deserve their own entry below.



Between a Bigfoot and a Silverback: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantopithecus Gigantopithecus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proconsul_(primate) Proconsul]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oreopithecus Oreopithecus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dryopithecus Dryopithecus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sivapithecus Sivapithecus]]'', and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orrorin Orrorin]]''

* Due to jungles not being good places for fossilization, not many species of extinct apes are known. The most notable one is ''Gigantopithecus'', a relative of the orangutan (that also exhibited gorilla-like characters). Its name means "giant ape", and with reason. It measured up to 10 feet when standing upright, ''two times'' bigger than a modern silverback gorilla: a sort of middle-way between a RealLife gorilla and Film/KingKong. Not only that, it was discovered near the Himalayas: could it be the mythical [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Yeti]]? If so, this would mean it could be ''still alive'' (don't be too excited: experts say it's ''highly improbable'' that such a large animal has remained unobserved for such a long amount of time...). Sadly, the only certain thing we know about it is just a lower fossil jaw; the shape of the teeth show us it was a plant-eater, possibly specialized to a bamboo-based diet, to the point that some experts think competition with ''the giant panda'' actually drove it to extinction. This ape might end up on its way to stock territory, since in ''Film/TheJungleBook2016'', King Louie was [[AdaptationSpeciesChange changed from an orangutan to a Gigantopithecus]] due to [[MisplacedWildlife orangutans not living in India]]... not only that, but he was much more intimidating than his 1967 counterpart due to his large size. Other extinct apes were once considered true human ancestors, or at least the common ancestors of apes and humans, but now are believed only distant relatives which shared some apparently human-like traits. ''Proconsul'', ''Dryopithecus'', "Ramapithecus" (now ''Sivapithecus''), and still others, are often mentioned in old textbooks for this, but now their relevance is drastically fallen down. However, two apes here are of crucial importance for our purposes: ''Oreopithecus'' and ''Orrorin''. Why? Because these two apes show fossils that hint at the very beginning of the human gait, with somewhat human-like pelvises and femurs. Today scientists, thanks to the study of the Molecular Clock, believe that ''Oreopithecus'' is just an evolutionary dead end of specialized hominid, while the ''Orrorin'' belongs to the clade that would ultimately lead to humans.

to:

Between a Bigfoot and a Silverback: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantopithecus Gigantopithecus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proconsul_(primate) Proconsul]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oreopithecus Oreopithecus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dryopithecus Dryopithecus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sivapithecus Sivapithecus]]'', and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orrorin Orrorin]]''

* Due to jungles not being good places for fossilization, not many species of extinct apes are known. The most notable one is ''Gigantopithecus'', ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Gigantopithecus]]'', a relative of the orangutan (that also exhibited gorilla-like characters). Its name means "giant ape", and with reason. It measured up to 10 feet when standing upright, ''two times'' bigger than a modern silverback gorilla: a sort of middle-way between a RealLife gorilla and Film/KingKong. Not only that, it was discovered near the Himalayas: could it be the mythical [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Yeti]]? If so, this would mean it could be ''still alive'' (don't be too excited: experts say it's ''highly improbable'' that such a large animal has remained unobserved for such a long amount of time...). Sadly, the only certain thing we know about it is just a lower fossil jaw; the shape of the teeth show us it was a plant-eater, possibly specialized to a bamboo-based diet, to the point that some experts think competition with ''the giant panda'' actually drove it to extinction. This ape might end up on its way to stock territory, since in ''Film/TheJungleBook2016'', King Louie was [[AdaptationSpeciesChange changed from an orangutan to a Gigantopithecus]] due to [[MisplacedWildlife orangutans not living in India]]... not only that, but he was much more intimidating than his 1967 counterpart due to his large size.characters). Other extinct apes were once considered true human ancestors, or at least the common ancestors of apes and humans, but now are believed only distant relatives which shared some apparently human-like traits. ''Proconsul'', ''Dryopithecus'', "Ramapithecus" (now ''Sivapithecus''), and still others, are often mentioned in old textbooks for this, but now their relevance is drastically fallen down. However, two apes here are of crucial importance for our purposes: ''Oreopithecus'' and ''Orrorin''. Why? Because these two apes show fossils that hint at the very beginning of the human gait, with somewhat human-like pelvises and femurs. Today scientists, thanks to the study of the Molecular Clock, believe that ''Oreopithecus'' is just an evolutionary dead end of specialized hominid, while the ''Orrorin'' belongs to the clade that would ultimately lead to humans.
25th Apr '16 6:16:34 PM MrMediaGuy2
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* Due to jungles not being good places for fossilization, not many species of extinct apes are known. The most notable one is ''Gigantopithecus'', a relative of the orangutan (that also exhibited gorilla-like characters). Its name means "giant ape", and with reason. It measured up to 10 feet when standing upright, ''two times'' bigger than a modern silverback gorilla: a sort of middle-way between a RealLife gorilla and Film/KingKong. Not only that, it was discovered near the Himalayas: could it be the mythical [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Yeti]]? If so, this would mean it could be ''still alive'' (don't be too excited: experts say it's ''highly improbable'' that such a large animal has remained unobserved for such a long amount of time...). Sadly, the only certain thing we know about it is just a lower fossil jaw; the shape of the teeth show us it was a plant-eater, possibly specialized to a bamboo-based diet, to the point that some experts think competition with ''the giant panda'' actually drove it to extinction. Other extinct apes were once considered true human ancestors, or at least the common ancestors of apes and humans, but now are believed only distant relatives which shared some apparently human-like traits. ''Proconsul'', ''Dryopithecus'', "Ramapithecus" (now ''Sivapithecus''), and still others, are often mentioned in old textbooks for this, but now their relevance is drastically fallen down. However, two apes here are of crucial importance for our purposes: ''Oreopithecus'' and ''Orrorin''. Why? Because these two apes show fossils that hint at the very beginning of the human gait, with somewhat human-like pelvises and femurs. Today scientists, thanks to the study of the Molecular Clock, believe that ''Oreopithecus'' is just an evolutionary dead end of specialized hominid, while the ''Orrorin'' belongs to the clade that would ultimately lead to humans.

to:

* Due to jungles not being good places for fossilization, not many species of extinct apes are known. The most notable one is ''Gigantopithecus'', a relative of the orangutan (that also exhibited gorilla-like characters). Its name means "giant ape", and with reason. It measured up to 10 feet when standing upright, ''two times'' bigger than a modern silverback gorilla: a sort of middle-way between a RealLife gorilla and Film/KingKong. Not only that, it was discovered near the Himalayas: could it be the mythical [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Yeti]]? If so, this would mean it could be ''still alive'' (don't be too excited: experts say it's ''highly improbable'' that such a large animal has remained unobserved for such a long amount of time...). Sadly, the only certain thing we know about it is just a lower fossil jaw; the shape of the teeth show us it was a plant-eater, possibly specialized to a bamboo-based diet, to the point that some experts think competition with ''the giant panda'' actually drove it to extinction. This ape might end up on its way to stock territory, since in ''Film/TheJungleBook2016'', King Louie was [[AdaptationSpeciesChange changed from an orangutan to a Gigantopithecus]] due to [[MisplacedWildlife orangutans not living in India]]... not only that, but he was much more intimidating than his 1967 counterpart due to his large size. Other extinct apes were once considered true human ancestors, or at least the common ancestors of apes and humans, but now are believed only distant relatives which shared some apparently human-like traits. ''Proconsul'', ''Dryopithecus'', "Ramapithecus" (now ''Sivapithecus''), and still others, are often mentioned in old textbooks for this, but now their relevance is drastically fallen down. However, two apes here are of crucial importance for our purposes: ''Oreopithecus'' and ''Orrorin''. Why? Because these two apes show fossils that hint at the very beginning of the human gait, with somewhat human-like pelvises and femurs. Today scientists, thanks to the study of the Molecular Clock, believe that ''Oreopithecus'' is just an evolutionary dead end of specialized hominid, while the ''Orrorin'' belongs to the clade that would ultimately lead to humans.
8th Apr '16 9:23:01 AM Theriocephalus
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* Modern rhinos are often referred as "prehistoric-looking" in media (and the genus now housing the White Rhino (''Ceratotherium'') dates back 7 million years). Many classic prehistoric mammals were indeed rhino-looking though with different horn-shapes (the aforementioned six-horned ''Uintatherium'' and the fork-horned ''Megacerops'' are the most well-known examples), but only some of the extinct "rhinoceroses" were ''really'' such. Among them, the most spectacular were the Woolly Rhino, the Unicorn Rhino, and above all, the Indricothere (ironically, this one wasn't so rhino-looking). The Unicorn (''Elasmotherium sibiricum'') is often confused with the Woolly (''Coelodonta antiquitatis'') because of their similar appearance: however, the latter was no larger than modern white rhinos and had ''two'' horns as well; ''Elasmotherium'' was much larger (5 tons, like a modern bush elephant) and with one single horn... perhaps as long as a grown man, and put on the front rather than upon the nose: hence [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin unicorn rhinoceros]]. Both lived in the Ice Age in cold climates, alongside mammoths in northern Asia, but the elasmothere had a more southerly range than the wholly rhino, and while both lived east of the Urals, only the wholly rhino was found in Europe[[note]]Possibly. There's [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elasmotherium#Western_Eurasia one cave painting]] that might stretch ''Elasmotherium'''s range as far as France[[/note]]; the latter lived alongside the other, more popular woolly, ([[RhetoricalQuestionBlunder guess what]]). Interestingly, both woollies have left soft parts of their bodies other than bones, hair included. The "unicorn rhinoceros" is often said to have been the inspiration of the {{Unicorn}} myths found all over Eurasia in one form or another when still alive, but this is probably a legend. Possibly. There's a chance the unicorn rhino might have lived into historic times, but the anecdotes and depictions of these creatures might just as well refer to one-horned bulls or animals frozen in the permafrost like mammoths are known to have been. Once again, it appears humans did these things in just as things were getting better. Other more primitive rhinos include the short-limbed hippo-shaped ''Teleoceras'' (whose remains are extremely abundant in Middle Cenozoic North America), the forked-horned ''Menoceras'' (similarly to the distantly-related brontotheres), and the no-horned ''Aceratherium''. (acera = with no horns). Other prehistoric true rhinos has unusual features such as prominent tusk-like lower incisors, still others were very small for rhino standards, not bigger than a sheep (and they were not insular forms), and potential preys even for small carnivores -- contrasting with the almost-invulnerable modern animals. A group of close relatives of rhinos, the amynodontids (among these ''Metamynodon'') were no-horned, hippo-looking and probably similar to hippopotamuses in habits. About indricotheres (or paraceratheres, depending on who you ask), they deserve their own entry below.

to:

* Modern rhinos are often referred as "prehistoric-looking" in media (and the genus now housing the White Rhino (''Ceratotherium'') dates back 7 million years). Many classic prehistoric mammals were indeed rhino-looking though with different horn-shapes (the aforementioned six-horned ''Uintatherium'' and the fork-horned ''Megacerops'' are the most well-known examples), but only some of the extinct "rhinoceroses" were ''really'' such. Among them, the most spectacular were the Woolly Rhino, the Unicorn Rhino, and above all, the Indricothere (ironically, this one wasn't so rhino-looking). The Unicorn (''Elasmotherium sibiricum'') is often confused with the Woolly (''Coelodonta antiquitatis'') because of their similar appearance: however, the latter was no larger than modern white rhinos and had ''two'' horns as well; ''Elasmotherium'' was much larger (5 tons, like a modern bush elephant) and with one single horn... perhaps as long as a grown man, and put on the front rather than upon the nose: hence [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin unicorn rhinoceros]]. Both lived in the Ice Age in cold climates, alongside mammoths in northern Asia, but the elasmothere had a more southerly range than the wholly woolly rhino, and while both lived east of the Urals, only the wholly woolly rhino was found in Europe[[note]]Possibly. There's [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elasmotherium#Western_Eurasia one cave painting]] that might stretch ''Elasmotherium'''s range as far as France[[/note]]; the latter lived alongside the other, more popular woolly, ([[RhetoricalQuestionBlunder guess what]]). Interestingly, both woollies have left soft parts of their bodies other than bones, hair included. The "unicorn rhinoceros" is often said to have been the inspiration of the {{Unicorn}} myths found all over Eurasia in one form or another when still alive, but this is probably a legend. Possibly. There's a chance the unicorn rhino might have lived into historic times, but the anecdotes and depictions of these creatures might just as well refer to one-horned bulls or animals frozen in the permafrost like mammoths are known to have been. Once again, it appears humans did these things in just as things were getting better. Other more primitive rhinos include the short-limbed hippo-shaped ''Teleoceras'' (whose remains are extremely abundant in Middle Cenozoic North America), the forked-horned ''Menoceras'' (similarly to the distantly-related brontotheres), and the no-horned ''Aceratherium''. (acera = with no horns). Other prehistoric true rhinos has unusual features such as prominent tusk-like lower incisors, still others were very small for rhino standards, not bigger than a sheep (and they were not insular forms), and potential preys even for small carnivores -- contrasting with the almost-invulnerable modern animals. A group of close relatives of rhinos, the amynodontids (among these ''Metamynodon'') were no-horned, hippo-looking and probably similar to hippopotamuses in habits. About indricotheres (or paraceratheres, depending on who you ask), they deserve their own entry below.
6th Apr '16 11:17:16 AM Theriocephalus
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* Modern rhinos are often referred as "prehistoric-looking" in media (and the genus now housing the White Rhino (''Ceratotherium'') dates back 7 million years). Many classic prehistoric mammals were indeed rhino-looking though with different horn-shapes (the aforementioned six-horned ''Uintatherium'' and the fork-horned ''Megacerops'' are the most well-known examples), but only some of the extinct "rhinoceroses" were ''really'' such. Among them, the most spectacular were the Woolly Rhino, the Unicorn Rhino, and above all, the Indricothere (ironically, this one wasn't so rhino-looking). The Unicorn (''Elasmotherium sibiricum'') is often confused with the Woolly (''Coelodonta antiquitatis'') because of their similar appearance: however, the latter was not larger than modern white rhinos and had ''two'' horns as well; ''Elasmotherium'' was much larger (5 tons, like a modern bush elephant) and with one single horn... perhaps as long as a grown man, and put on the front rather than upon the nose: hence [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin unicorn rhinoceros]]. Both lived in the Ice Age in cold climates, alongside mammoths in northern Asia, but the elasmothere was southerner than the coelodont; the latter lived alongside the other, more popular woolly, ([[RhetoricalQuestionBlunder guess what]]). Interesting that both woollies have left soft part of their bodies other than bones, hair included. While the "unicorn rhinoceros" is often said to have been the inspiration of [[DeadUnicornTrope that other unicorn]] when still alive, but this is probably a legend. Once again, it appears humans did these things in just as things were getting better. Other more primitive rhinos include the short-limbed hippo-shaped ''Teleoceras'' (whose remains are extremely abundant in Middle Cenozoic North America), the forked-horned ''Menoceras'' (similarly to the distantly-related brontotheres), and the no-horned ''Aceratherium''. (acera = with no horns). Other prehistoric true rhinos has unusual features such as prominent tusk-like lower incisors, still others were very small for rhino standards, not bigger than a sheep (and they were not insular forms), and potential preys even for small carnivores -- contrasting with the almost-invulnerable modern animals. A group of close relatives of rhinos, the amynodontids (among these ''Metamynodon'') were no-horned, hippo-looking and probably similar to hippopotamuses in habits. About indricotheres (or paraceratheres, depending on who you ask), they deserve their own entry below.

to:

* Modern rhinos are often referred as "prehistoric-looking" in media (and the genus now housing the White Rhino (''Ceratotherium'') dates back 7 million years). Many classic prehistoric mammals were indeed rhino-looking though with different horn-shapes (the aforementioned six-horned ''Uintatherium'' and the fork-horned ''Megacerops'' are the most well-known examples), but only some of the extinct "rhinoceroses" were ''really'' such. Among them, the most spectacular were the Woolly Rhino, the Unicorn Rhino, and above all, the Indricothere (ironically, this one wasn't so rhino-looking). The Unicorn (''Elasmotherium sibiricum'') is often confused with the Woolly (''Coelodonta antiquitatis'') because of their similar appearance: however, the latter was not no larger than modern white rhinos and had ''two'' horns as well; ''Elasmotherium'' was much larger (5 tons, like a modern bush elephant) and with one single horn... perhaps as long as a grown man, and put on the front rather than upon the nose: hence [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin unicorn rhinoceros]]. Both lived in the Ice Age in cold climates, alongside mammoths in northern Asia, but the elasmothere was southerner had a more southerly range than the coelodont; wholly rhino, and while both lived east of the Urals, only the wholly rhino was found in Europe[[note]]Possibly. There's [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elasmotherium#Western_Eurasia one cave painting]] that might stretch ''Elasmotherium'''s range as far as France[[/note]]; the latter lived alongside the other, more popular woolly, ([[RhetoricalQuestionBlunder guess what]]). Interesting that Interestingly, both woollies have left soft part parts of their bodies other than bones, hair included. While the The "unicorn rhinoceros" is often said to have been the inspiration of [[DeadUnicornTrope that other unicorn]] the {{Unicorn}} myths found all over Eurasia in one form or another when still alive, but this is probably a legend.legend. Possibly. There's a chance the unicorn rhino might have lived into historic times, but the anecdotes and depictions of these creatures might just as well refer to one-horned bulls or animals frozen in the permafrost like mammoths are known to have been. Once again, it appears humans did these things in just as things were getting better. Other more primitive rhinos include the short-limbed hippo-shaped ''Teleoceras'' (whose remains are extremely abundant in Middle Cenozoic North America), the forked-horned ''Menoceras'' (similarly to the distantly-related brontotheres), and the no-horned ''Aceratherium''. (acera = with no horns). Other prehistoric true rhinos has unusual features such as prominent tusk-like lower incisors, still others were very small for rhino standards, not bigger than a sheep (and they were not insular forms), and potential preys even for small carnivores -- contrasting with the almost-invulnerable modern animals. A group of close relatives of rhinos, the amynodontids (among these ''Metamynodon'') were no-horned, hippo-looking and probably similar to hippopotamuses in habits. About indricotheres (or paraceratheres, depending on who you ask), they deserve their own entry below.
6th Apr '16 11:01:23 AM Theriocephalus
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* As we'll say later, not all rhinoceros-looking fossil mammals were real rhinos; but they'll probably get identified as such in popular media. Among the most well-known is ''Uintatherium'', found in huge numbers in several fossil deposits of Western USA. The poor uintathere is perhaps [[TheWoobie the most mistreated]] extinct mammal of them all: expect somebody describing its appearance as "[[PrehistoricMonster monstrous/scary]]". Right, it had six giraffe-like horns and two upper protruding tusks: but, honestly, if ''Uintatherium'' was alive today, it would appear not more scary than an elephant, rhino, hippo or giraffe... Also expect a crack about its "tiny" brain (just what happens to its [[TheWoobie Woobiesaurian]] equivalent, ''[[StockDinosaurs Stegosaurus]]''), and just like the stegosaur, expect the writer saying [[TooDumbToLive its dumbness being the real reason of its extinction!]] In RealLife, uintatheres were among the very first mammals to reach large size (up to a modern-day rhino), and their body-plan was ''very successful'' at the time, to the point they roamed northern continents in huge numbers for million years in Early Cenozoic, before being substituted by the even larger brontotheres (see below).

Thunder beasts: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megacerops Megacerops]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brontops Brontops]]'', and '' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embolotherium Embolotherium]]''

* ''Megacerops'' (formerly called ''Brontotherium''... these ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Bronto]]''s just can't keep their names) the prototype and the most well-known member of its group of mammals, the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin brontotheres]]. [[note]]However, one brontothere, the primitive ''Brontops'', preserved its bronto- prefix[[/note]] While ''Uintatherium'' was not related with any modern hoofed mammals, brontotheres were distant relatives of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perissodactyla horses, tapirs and rhinos]]. The biggest brontotheres were almost Triceratops-sized or elephant-sized, and their cool-name indeed means "thunder beasts". They had a more rhino-like look than uintatheres, having one single "horn" on their nose: ''Megacerops'' 's prominence was forked and slingshot-like, while that of ''Embolotherium'' (the brontothere portrayed in [[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]]) was shovel-like and not forked. Like uintatheres, brontotheres too roamed plains of the northern continents in huge numbers in the Early Cenozoic: then they eventually gone extinct, perhaps because they weren't capable to adapt to the diffusion of the very first grasslands which replaced their former food (made of scrub and non-grass herbs).

to:

* As we'll say later, not all rhinoceros-looking fossil mammals were real rhinos; but rhinos, although they'll probably get identified as such in popular media. Among the most well-known is ''Uintatherium'', found in huge numbers in several fossil deposits of Western USA. in the western USA and in China. The poor uintathere is perhaps [[TheWoobie the most mistreated]] extinct mammal of them all: expect somebody describing its appearance as "[[PrehistoricMonster monstrous/scary]]". Right, it had six giraffe-like horns and two upper protruding tusks: tusks, but, honestly, if ''Uintatherium'' was alive today, it would probably appear not no more scary than an elephant, rhino, hippo or giraffe... giraffe. Also expect a crack about its "tiny" brain (just what happens to its [[TheWoobie Woobiesaurian]] equivalent, ''[[StockDinosaurs Stegosaurus]]''), and just like the stegosaur, expect the writer saying to say [[TooDumbToLive its dumbness being the real reason of its extinction!]] extinction]]. In RealLife, uintatheres were among the very first mammals to reach large size (up to sizes (about as large as a modern-day rhino), and their body-plan was ''very successful'' ''very'' successful at the time, to the point as they roamed the northern continents hemisphere in huge numbers for million millions of years in Early Cenozoic, the early Cenozoic[[note]]In [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eocene the Eocene epoch]], to be precise[[/note]], before being substituted outcompeted by the even larger brontotheres (see below).

below) and the first true rhinos.

Thunder beasts: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megacerops Megacerops]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brontops Brontops]]'', and '' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embolotherium Embolotherium]]''

* ''Megacerops'' (formerly called ''Brontotherium''... these ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Bronto]]''s just can't keep their names) the prototype and the most well-known member of its group of mammals, the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin brontotheres]]. [[note]]However, one brontothere, the primitive ''Brontops'', preserved its bronto- prefix[[/note]] prefix... until it was reclassified as a synonym for ''Megacerops''[[/note]] While ''Uintatherium'' was not related with any modern hoofed mammals, brontotheres were distant relatives of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perissodactyla horses, tapirs and rhinos]]. The biggest brontotheres were almost Triceratops-sized or elephant-sized, and their cool-name indeed means "thunder beasts". They had a more rhino-like look than uintatheres, having one single "horn" on their nose: ''Megacerops'' 's prominence was forked and slingshot-like, while that of ''Embolotherium'' (the brontothere portrayed in [[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]]) was shovel-like and not forked. Like uintatheres, brontotheres too roamed plains of the northern continents in huge numbers in the Early Cenozoic: then they eventually gone extinct, perhaps because they weren't capable to adapt to the diffusion of the very first grasslands which replaced their former food (made of scrub and non-grass herbs).
4th Mar '16 5:23:30 PM PDL
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* After diprotodonts, the biggest known prehistoric marsupials were kangaroos. These are a very recently-evolved and specialized subgroup of Australian marsupials related with koalas, wombats and diprotodonts. Together, these animals (plus others) make the most diversified marsupial subgroup, incidentally called “Diprotodonts” as well. One of the biggest extinct kangaroos was ''Procoptodon''. 10 ft tall (twice a modern red kangaroo), it had a short stocky tail and a flat, round snout; the latter has given to it the nickname “koala-faced kangaroo”. Despite these difference, its body plan was the same of its modern relatives, being well-suited to jump (though probably less-agile). But unlike modern kangaroos, ''Procoptodon'' was probably a browser of high tree-foliage no other animal could reach. As a whole, kangaroos are considered the Australian equivalents of the hoofed mammals from every other landmass. Indeed, the “koalaroo” made this even more than the others: its feet had ''only one toe each'', ending with a true horse-like hoof. Related with ''Procoptodon'' was ''Sthenurus'', which showed a similar size and the same basic traits. Interesting that some smaller prehistoric kangaroos might have been partially carnivorous or even active predators, like ''Ekaltadeta''.

to:

* After diprotodonts, the biggest known prehistoric marsupials were kangaroos. These are a very recently-evolved and specialized subgroup of Australian marsupials related with koalas, wombats and diprotodonts. Together, these animals (plus others) make the most diversified marsupial subgroup, incidentally called “Diprotodonts” as well. One of the biggest extinct kangaroos was ''Procoptodon''. 10 ft tall (twice a modern red kangaroo), it had a short stocky tail and a flat, round snout; the latter has given to it the nickname “koala-faced kangaroo”. Despite these difference, its body plan was the same of its modern relatives, being well-suited to jump (though probably less-agile). But unlike modern kangaroos, ''Procoptodon'' was probably a browser of high tree-foliage no other animal could reach. As a whole, kangaroos are considered the Australian equivalents of the hoofed mammals from every other landmass. Indeed, the “koalaroo” made this even more than the others: its feet had ''only one toe each'', ending with a true horse-like hoof. Unlike their modern counterparts, these kangaroos were far too large to hop. Instead, they had large buttocks and their ankle bones suggested that they ''walked in the same way as human beings''. Related with ''Procoptodon'' was ''Sthenurus'', which showed a similar size and the same basic traits. Interesting that some smaller prehistoric kangaroos might have been partially carnivorous or even active predators, like ''Ekaltadeta''.



* Modern Australia also was home to an unique animal which has no close modern relatives, with its contemporary the koala being its closest relative: ''Thylacoleo'', (“pouched lion”) nicknamed the “marsupial lion”, with its species name, ''carnifex'', meaning [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast "executioner"]]. It was so-called because its body shape, sharp claws, and short head remember modern big-cats; but unlike the latter, it had ''rodent-like incisors'' instead of the classic fangs, and guillotines instead of molars that it used to slice the neck of the prey to kill it instantly. Scientists once thought it was indeed vegetarian like a rodent; they now know it was predatory. Not only that, it could have been the most efficient mammalian predator ever. Despite being not bigger than a jaguar, some think it was able to kill [[BadAss even Diprotodonts and giant kangaroos!]] The combination of ''Velociraptor''-like claws and guillotines proved an awesomely efficient killing arsenal. If not for the fact there were two larger, faster, equally well-armed reptilian predators-''Quinkana'', a terrestrial crocodile, and ''Megalania'', a giant lizard the size of a bison, it would have been the continent's unrivalled killer. All three predators, modern animals adapted to today's world, met an untimely end at the hands of humans, as they set fires to grow different plant species, which starved their prey to extinction. The same fate occurred to all species of marsupial wolves, the other main mammalian predators of prehistoric Australia other than the lion, whose only species survived in contemporary age (the famous "Tasmanian wolf" ''Thylacinus cynocephalus'', lit. "pouched dog with a dog-head"), has missed the chance to be observed by modern wildlife lovers only for a bunch of decades.

to:

* Modern Australia also was home to an unique animal which has no close modern relatives, with its contemporary the koala koala, wombat and the Diprotodonts being its closest relative: ''Thylacoleo'', (“pouched lion”) nicknamed the “marsupial lion”, with its species name, ''carnifex'', meaning [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast "executioner"]]. It was so-called because its body shape, sharp claws, and short head remember modern big-cats; but unlike the latter, it had ''rodent-like incisors'' instead of the classic fangs, and guillotines instead of molars that it used to slice the neck of the prey to kill it instantly. Scientists once thought it was indeed vegetarian like a rodent; they now know it was predatory. Not only that, it could have been the most efficient mammalian predator ever. Despite being not bigger than a jaguar, some think it was able to kill [[BadAss even Diprotodonts and giant kangaroos!]] The combination of ''Velociraptor''-like claws and guillotines proved an awesomely efficient killing arsenal. If not for the fact there were two larger, faster, equally well-armed reptilian predators-''Quinkana'', a terrestrial crocodile, and ''Megalania'', a giant lizard the size of a bison, it would have been the continent's unrivalled killer. All three predators, modern animals adapted to today's world, met an untimely end at the hands of humans, as they set fires to grow different plant species, which starved their prey to extinction. The same fate occurred to all species of marsupial wolves, the other main mammalian predators of prehistoric Australia other than the lion, whose only species survived in contemporary age (the famous "Tasmanian wolf" ''Thylacinus cynocephalus'', lit. "pouched dog with a dog-head"), has missed the chance to be observed by modern wildlife lovers only for a bunch of decades.
4th Mar '16 5:03:57 PM MrMediaGuy2
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* True carnivorans (members of the order Carnivora) appeared soon after the start of the Mammal Age, but remained small and unspecialised for a long amount of time. In the Eocene most of them were still weasel- or genet-like like ''Miacis'' , but they already showed the separation in the two main branches still living today: the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caniformia dog branch]] (dogs, bears, raccoons, weasels and ''seals'') and the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feliformia cat branch]] (cats, genets, mongooses and ''hyenas''). All modern large-sized carnivorans, from bears to lions, wolves to walruses, descend from weasel-shaped critters. However, many small carnivorans retain still today their ancient shape/size: because of their small size, they are much rarer in the fossil record and their evolution is less understood. Also poorly-understood is the evolution of pinnipeds (seals, sea lions and walruses), as their fossils are rare. We are sure however, they were a more recent group than cetaceans and sirenians, and descended from otter-like or bear-like ancestors.

to:

* True carnivorans (members of the order Carnivora) appeared soon after the start of the Mammal Age, but remained small and unspecialised for a long amount of time. In the Eocene most of them were still weasel- or genet-like like ''Miacis'' , but they already showed the separation in the two main branches still living today: the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caniformia dog branch]] (dogs, bears, raccoons, weasels and ''seals'') and the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feliformia cat branch]] (cats, genets, mongooses and ''hyenas''). All modern large-sized carnivorans, from bears to lions, wolves to walruses, descend from weasel-shaped critters. However, many small carnivorans retain still today their ancient shape/size: because of their small size, they are much rarer in the fossil record and their evolution is less understood. Also poorly-understood is understood.

From an otter to killer walruses: ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puijila Puijila]]'', ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enaliarctos Enaliarctos]]'', and ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelagiarctos Pelagiarctos]]''

* Pinnipeds (containing seals, sea lions, and walruses) don't have
the evolution of pinnipeds (seals, sea most extensive fossil record. It was once theorized that they had evolved from ''two'' lineages: the true seals (also known as earless seals) from otters, and the eared seals (sea lions and walruses), as their fossils are rare. We are sure however, fur seals) and walruses from bears. Currently, they were a more recent group than cetaceans and sirenians, and descended are believed to have evolved from the otter-like or bear-like ancestors.
''Puijila'', resulting in the relatively primitive ''Enalicarctos'', before diverging even further. Worth mentioning is that [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odobenidae Odobenidae]], the family now only containing the walrus, was once a lot more diverse. Probably the most interesting member was ''Pelagiarctos'', which appears to have sharp, shredding teeth like that of a hyena. It is believed to have been one of the top predators of the Miocene seas, feeding on prey ranging from other pinnipeds to the aforementioned Desmostylians.
6th Dec '15 12:19:15 PM MrMediaGuy2
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Added DiffLines:

Marsupial tapir?: ''[[https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palorchestes Palorchestes]]''
* This distant relative of koalas and wombats is interesting for mainly one feature: the shape of its skull has lead many scientists to believe it had a short, tapir-like proboscis! (There is a possibility of this not being the case, as more recently they have been reconstructing it to look like a more generic giant wombat. Many other reconstructions still keep the trunk, for [[RuleOfCool obvious reasons]].) Its grasping claws show that it was most likely a browser, similar to the giant ground sloths and chalicotheres mentioned below. If it did have this "trunk" like scientists theorize, it could have been very helpful in grasping branching to pull leaves off of.
28th Nov '15 6:35:54 AM Spinosegnosaurus77
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[[folder:From kangaroos to echidnas]]

Giant rhinowombat: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diprotodon Diprotodon]]''

* Australian mammalofauna hasn't changed much since the non-avian dinosaur extinction (not counting human influence of course, which wiped out almost everything in this folder): there have always been [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsupial marsupials]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotreme monotremes]] in the LandDownUnder. Since modern Australian mammals are already so bizarre-looking, how would the ones we killed off have looked? Not unlike their surviving contemporaries, really; but some were a bit larger. The UpToEleven examples were the herbivorous diprotodonts, called after their most well-known member: ''Diprotodon''. Related with modern wombats, they were a lot bigger: the largest species reached the size of a rhinoceros. With their robust limbs and massive body, they literally resembled hornless rhinos, and resembled also several extinct ungulates (like the South American ''Toxodon'' or the early ''Coryphodon''). Indeed, Australian marsupials have made an extraordinary case of Convergent Evolution with placental mammals. Among differences between diprotodonts and ungulates, other than (of course) their reproductive system, is that the former had the same rodent-like incisors seen in modern wombats.

Giant koalaroos: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procoptodon Procoptodon]]'' and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sthenurus Sthenurus]]''

* After diprotodonts, the biggest known prehistoric marsupials were kangaroos. These are a very recently-evolved and specialized subgroup of Australian marsupials related with koalas, wombats and diprotodonts. Together, these animals (plus others) make the most diversified marsupial subgroup, incidentally called “Diprotodonts” as well. One of the biggest extinct kangaroos was ''Procoptodon''. 10 ft tall (twice a modern red kangaroo), it had a short stocky tail and a flat, round snout; the latter has given to it the nickname “koala-faced kangaroo”. Despite these difference, its body plan was the same of its modern relatives, being well-suited to jump (though probably less-agile). But unlike modern kangaroos, ''Procoptodon'' was probably a browser of high tree-foliage no other animal could reach. As a whole, kangaroos are considered the Australian equivalents of the hoofed mammals from every other landmass. Indeed, the “koalaroo” made this even more than the others: its feet had ''only one toe each'', ending with a true horse-like hoof. Related with ''Procoptodon'' was ''Sthenurus'', which showed a similar size and the same basic traits. Interesting that some smaller prehistoric kangaroos might have been partially carnivorous or even active predators, like ''Ekaltadeta''.

The Ultimate Terrestrial Mammalian Carnivore: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylacoleo Thylacoleo]]''
* Modern Australia also was home to an unique animal which has no close modern relatives, with its contemporary the koala being its closest relative: ''Thylacoleo'', (“pouched lion”) nicknamed the “marsupial lion”, with its species name, ''carnifex'', meaning [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast "executioner"]]. It was so-called because its body shape, sharp claws, and short head remember modern big-cats; but unlike the latter, it had ''rodent-like incisors'' instead of the classic fangs, and guillotines instead of molars that it used to slice the neck of the prey to kill it instantly. Scientists once thought it was indeed vegetarian like a rodent; they now know it was predatory. Not only that, it could have been the most efficient mammalian predator ever. Despite being not bigger than a jaguar, some think it was able to kill [[BadAss even Diprotodonts and giant kangaroos!]] The combination of ''Velociraptor''-like claws and guillotines proved an awesomely efficient killing arsenal. If not for the fact there were two larger, faster, equally well-armed reptilian predators-''Quinkana'', a terrestrial crocodile, and ''Megalania'', a giant lizard the size of a bison, it would have been the continent's unrivalled killer. All three predators, modern animals adapted to today's world, met an untimely end at the hands of humans, as they set fires to grow different plant species, which starved their prey to extinction. The same fate occurred to all species of marsupial wolves, the other main mammalian predators of prehistoric Australia other than the lion, whose only species survived in contemporary age (the famous "Tasmanian wolf" ''Thylacinus cynocephalus'', lit. "pouched dog with a dog-head"), has missed the chance to be observed by modern wildlife lovers only for a bunch of decades.

When sabretooths had a pouch: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylacosmilus Thylacosmilus]]''

* There was another marsupial which resembled a cat even more than the marsupial lion: the similar-named ''Thylacosmilus'' (“pouched smilodont”), nicknamed the “marsupial sabertooth”. The same size of the “marsupial lion”, ''Thylacosmilus'' had two ever-growing upper fangs virtually identical to actual sabre-toothed cats, and possibly used in the same way. To protect these fangs, the lower jaw has a couple of bony “sheaths” covered with skins, which could have given it a curious “drooping lips” appearance. The most curious thing, however, is ''Thylacosmilus'' was not Australian at all: it was ''South American''. Together with other less-striking marsupial carnivores such as the bear-like ''Borhyena'' and the weasel-like ''Cladosictis'' [[note]]Together, South American marsupial carnivores make a natural group named Sparassodonts, not strictly related with Australian marsupial carnivores like the marsupial lion or the marsupial wolf[[/note]], ''Thylacosmilus'' long occupied the top predator niche in competition with terror birds and large crocodilians... before ''true sabertoothed cats'' (''Smilodon populator'') and other proper carnivores outcompeted it and its relatives in South American plains. Today, possums and possum-like animals are the only marsupials left in the Americas, typically insect- or fruit-eating. Their Aussie relatives were more lucky: before the Ice Ages, placental mammals didn't manage to reach the LandDownUnder (rats and bats excluded). That’s why kangaroos, wombats and so on are still living today. Sadly, their enlarged relatives missed the opportunity, due to a new kind of colonizers arrived only some thousands years ago: humans (see the entry above this one).

Knuckles the giant echidna: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaglossus Prehistoric long-beaked Echidnas]]

* Prehistoric marsupials were not the only oversized mammals in ancient Australia: monotremes, too, were amazing. Modern monotremes are the most archaic extant mammals, and are well-known because they have preserved the original habit to produce eggs instead of alive newborns. Their extinct relatives are poorly-known in fossil record, and were not different than the modern ones (platypus and echidna). However, one member of the echidna group reached the size of a sheep: ''Zaglossus hartmanni'', closely related with modern long-beaked echidnas. It's weird that the astounding fauna which lived once in Australia was totally missed by the [[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With]] producers. With giant koalaroos, giant rhinowombats, rat-toothed uberlions, and giant ancestor of [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog Knuckles]] available (not to mention UpToEleven Komodo dragons and giant running birds)… it's unfortunate that such an episode never materialized.
[[/folder]]



[[folder:From kangaroos to echidnas]]

Giant rhinowombat: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diprotodon Diprotodon]]''

* Australian mammalofauna hasn't changed much since the non-avian dinosaur extinction (not counting human influence of course, which wiped out almost everything in this folder): there have always been [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsupial marsupials]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotreme monotremes]] in the LandDownUnder. Since modern Australian mammals are already so bizarre-looking, how would the ones we killed off have looked? Not unlike their surviving contemporaries, really; but some were a bit larger. The UpToEleven examples were the herbivorous diprotodonts, called after their most well-known member: ''Diprotodon''. Related with modern wombats, they were a lot bigger: the largest species reached the size of a rhinoceros. With their robust limbs and massive body, they literally resembled hornless rhinos, and resembled also several extinct ungulates (like the South American ''Toxodon'' or the early ''Coryphodon''). Indeed, Australian marsupials have made an extraordinary case of Convergent Evolution with placental mammals. Among differences between diprotodonts and ungulates, other than (of course) their reproductive system, is that the former had the same rodent-like incisors seen in modern wombats.

Giant koalaroos: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procoptodon Procoptodon]]'' and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sthenurus Sthenurus]]''

* After diprotodonts, the biggest known prehistoric marsupials were kangaroos. These are a very recently-evolved and specialized subgroup of Australian marsupials related with koalas, wombats and diprotodonts. Together, these animals (plus others) make the most diversified marsupial subgroup, incidentally called “Diprotodonts” as well. One of the biggest extinct kangaroos was ''Procoptodon''. 10 ft tall (twice a modern red kangaroo), it had a short stocky tail and a flat, round snout; the latter has given to it the nickname “koala-faced kangaroo”. Despite these difference, its body plan was the same of its modern relatives, being well-suited to jump (though probably less-agile). But unlike modern kangaroos, ''Procoptodon'' was probably a browser of high tree-foliage no other animal could reach. As a whole, kangaroos are considered the Australian equivalents of the hoofed mammals from every other landmass. Indeed, the “koalaroo” made this even more than the others: its feet had ''only one toe each'', ending with a true horse-like hoof. Related with ''Procoptodon'' was ''Sthenurus'', which showed a similar size and the same basic traits. Interesting that some smaller prehistoric kangaroos might have been partially carnivorous or even active predators, like ''Ekaltadeta''.

The Ultimate Terrestrial Mammalian Carnivore: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylacoleo Thylacoleo]]''
* Modern Australia also was home to an unique animal which has no close modern relatives, with its contemporary the koala being its closest relative: ''Thylacoleo'', (“pouched lion”) nicknamed the “marsupial lion”, with its species name, ''carnifex'', meaning [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast "executioner"]]. It was so-called because its body shape, sharp claws, and short head remember modern big-cats; but unlike the latter, it had ''rodent-like incisors'' instead of the classic fangs, and guillotines instead of molars that it used to slice the neck of the prey to kill it instantly. Scientists once thought it was indeed vegetarian like a rodent; they now know it was predatory. Not only that, it could have been the most efficient mammalian predator ever. Despite being not bigger than a jaguar, some think it was able to kill [[BadAss even Diprotodonts and giant kangaroos!]] The combination of ''Velociraptor''-like claws and guillotines proved an awesomely efficient killing arsenal. If not for the fact there were two larger, faster, equally well-armed reptilian predators-''Quinkana'', a terrestrial crocodile, and ''Megalania'', a giant lizard the size of a bison, it would have been the continent's unrivalled killer. All three predators, modern animals adapted to today's world, met an untimely end at the hands of humans, as they set fires to grow different plant species, which starved their prey to extinction. The same fate occurred to all species of marsupial wolves, the other main mammalian predators of prehistoric Australia other than the lion, whose only species survived in contemporary age (the famous "Tasmanian wolf" ''Thylacinus cynocephalus'', lit. "pouched dog with a dog-head"), has missed the chance to be observed by modern wildlife lovers only for a bunch of decades.

When sabretooths had a pouch: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylacosmilus Thylacosmilus]]''

* There was another marsupial which resembled a cat even more than the marsupial lion: the similar-named ''Thylacosmilus'' (“pouched smilodont”), nicknamed the “marsupial sabertooth”. The same size of the “marsupial lion”, ''Thylacosmilus'' had two ever-growing upper fangs virtually identical to actual sabre-toothed cats, and possibly used in the same way. To protect these fangs, the lower jaw has a couple of bony “sheaths” covered with skins, which could have given it a curious “drooping lips” appearance. The most curious thing, however, is ''Thylacosmilus'' was not Australian at all: it was ''South American''. Together with other less-striking marsupial carnivores such as the bear-like ''Borhyena'' and the weasel-like ''Cladosictis'' [[note]]Together, South American marsupial carnivores make a natural group named Sparassodonts, not strictly related with Australian marsupial carnivores like the marsupial lion or the marsupial wolf[[/note]], ''Thylacosmilus'' long occupied the top predator niche in competition with terror birds and large crocodilians... before ''true sabertoothed cats'' (''Smilodon populator'') and other proper carnivores outcompeted it and its relatives in South American plains. Today, possums and possum-like animals are the only marsupials left in the Americas, typically insect- or fruit-eating. Their Aussie relatives were more lucky: before the Ice Ages, placental mammals didn't manage to reach the LandDownUnder (rats and bats excluded). That’s why kangaroos, wombats and so on are still living today. Sadly, their enlarged relatives missed the opportunity, due to a new kind of colonizers arrived only some thousands years ago: humans (see the entry above this one).

Knuckles the giant echidna: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaglossus Prehistoric long-beaked Echidnas]]

* Prehistoric marsupials were not the only oversized mammals in ancient Australia: monotremes, too, were amazing. Modern monotremes are the most archaic extant mammals, and are well-known because they have preserved the original habit to produce eggs instead of alive newborns. Their extinct relatives are poorly-known in fossil record, and were not different than the modern ones (platypus and echidna). However, one member of the echidna group reached the size of a sheep: ''Zaglossus hartmanni'', closely related with modern long-beaked echidnas. It's weird that the astounding fauna which lived once in Australia was totally missed by the [[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With]] producers. With giant koalaroos, giant rhinowombats, rat-toothed uberlions, and giant ancestor of [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog Knuckles]] available (not to mention UpToEleven Komodo dragons and giant running birds)… it's unfortunate that such an episode never materialized.
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28th Nov '15 6:34:17 AM Spinosegnosaurus77
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