Ancient Elephants, Largest Mammals That Ever Lived on Earth?

What are the largest mammals that have ever lived on Earth’s land? So far, Paraceratherium, an ancient hornless rhino, is considered the largest mammal. Although it “doesn’t look like” the rhino we know, it belongs to the superfamily of rhinos, the Rhinocerotoidea, which includes the members of today’s rhinos. Scientists believe, this rhino has a height of 4.8 – 5 meters and weighs 20 tons. Or, five times the weight of an African elephant now However, new opinions emerged.

According to a paper by Asier Larramendi written in 2015, as reported by National Geographic, ancient elephants competed with ancient rhinos as the largest mammals to have ever lived on Earth. Paraceratherium looks so large because of its long neck. Even so, in terms of weight, Deinotherium, an ancient elephant with an anchor-like tusk, is likely heavier. Deinotherium is a relative of the modern elephant that appeared in the Middle Miocene Period and continued into the early Pleistocene. The Deinotherium looks like the modern elephant, except for its shorter trunk, and its curved tusks, which are attached to its lower jaw. The male, his body is 3.5 to 4.2 meters tall, although some specimens are as large as 5 meters. They weigh 5-10 tonnes, with large males weighing 14 tonnes. Deinotherium bone fossils were first discovered in Germany in 1836.

This giant mammal is believed to have lived in Europe, Asia and Africa before extinction with each region being home to different Deinotherium species. Its downward curved ivory is a topic of debate among experts trying to figure out how it functions. Some scientists believe Deinotherium used its tusks to pull tree branches to eat the leaves. Other experts think that ivory is used to dig the ground, looking for tubers. There has been no conclusion and mutual agreement. Early in the Pleistocene era, Deinotherium populations in Europe and Asia appear to have disappeared, most likely as a result of habitat changes caused by the global climate change of that time. Meanwhile, the last population in Africa is estimated to have survived about a million years ago.

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