Rhinos dispersed across South, Central Asia via Tibet: Study


The giant rhino, Paraceratherium, was the largest land mammal that ever lived and was found primarily in Asia, particularly in China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan. 

However, it was long unknown how this genus spread across Asia. A recent discovery has shed new light on this process.

A study published in the journal “Communications Biology,” reported a new species, Paraceratherium linxiaense sp. nov., which offers important clues to the dispersal of giant rhinos across Asia. 

The new species’ fossils comprise a completely preserved skull and mandible with their associated atlas, as well as an axis and two thoracic vertebrae from another individual. The fossils were recovered from the Late Oligocene deposits of the Linxia Basin in Gansu Province, China, which is located on the northeastern border of the Tibetan Plateau. 

The giant rhino of western Pakistan is from the Oligocene strata, representing a single species, Paraceratherium bugtiense. On the other hand, the rest of the genus Paraceratherium, which is distributed across the Mongolian Plateau, northwestern China, and the area north of the Tibetan Plateau to Kazakhstan, is highly diversified. 

Mongolian Plateau to South Asia along the eastern coast of the Tethys Ocean and perhaps through Tibet. The topographical possibility that the giant rhino crossed the Tibetan area to reach the Indian-Pakistani subcontinent in the Oligocene can also be supported by other evidence. 

The evolution and migration show that the “Tibetan Plateau” was not yet a barrier to the movement of the largest land mammal.

Source : Deccan Herald