Friday, August 17, 2007

ARSINOITHERIUM


named for the Egyptian Ptolemaic (Greek) queen, Arsinoe, from the order of Embrithopoda looked much like a rhinoceros with two horns, but is today extinct. Originally, they were thought to have existed only in the ancient Fayoum forest (during the Lower Oligocene 25 to 45 million years ago), but examples of this mammal appear to have now been found elsewhere, including Romania and Turkey.

The original Arsinoitherium was about the size and shape of a modern rhinoceros at about 3.4 meters (11 feet) in length. The animals had five toed hooves, forty-four high crowned teeth and was probably semi-amphibian living in marshy areas. This animal, discovered by Beadnell in 1902, was named Arsinoitherium zitteli after one of the members of the Rohlfs expedition. In 1903, Andrews and Lankester discovered Arsinoitherium andrewsi, a similar animal though about one third the size of the Arsinoitherium zitteli. While research continues and many questions remain unanswered about these animals, it is almost certain that the two types of Arsinoitheriums could not have existed at the same time.

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