|“||I wonder if it will eat something from the 21st century?||”|
Arsinoitherium was an embrithopod from the Eocene. It is significant for having a double horn on its head.
Phyiscal appearance and biologyEdit
Behaviour and traitsEdit
Despite its size and aggressive appearance, the rhino-like Arsinoitherium was actually a gentle giant. It lived in the North African coastal mangrove swamps, where it would have spent most of its time wallowing in the water.
Arsinoitherium would emerge on to land only for brief periods of time because its hind legs were permanently bent and pointed outwards, which was ideal for swimming but not so good for walking. Its awkward gait has been confirmed by the discovery of its fossilized footprints in Egypt. It is thought that Arsinoitherium would have ventured on to land to mate or to move to new feeding areas. It had no natural predators on land or in the sea.
Although Arsinoitherium was vegetarian, its complex means of chewing allowed it to eat only certain types of fruit and leaf. It must therefore have spent much of its time searching for suitable quantities of food in order to maintain its large bulk.
The most obvious feature of Arsinoitherium is its giant double horn, which was larger in the females than the males. Given that it was hollow, and that both sexes had excellent hearing, it is possible that the male used it to create a loud mating call. The males may also have used their horns in mating battles, locking them with a rival and twisting until their opponent surrendered.
A pile of Arsinoitherium dung was found by Nigel Marven. He then followed a set of footprints made by an Arsinoitherium until he found it browsing. Nigel offered it an apple from the 21st century but it charged at Nigel like a modern day rhinoceros, mistaking him as a threat. Nigel managed to escape whilst it jumped into the mangrove water to swim. Nigel followed the Arsinoitherium before then following a pair of Dorudon. As Nigel's boat left the mangroves for the open sea, the Arsinoitherium was seen briefly one last time, emerging ashore in another mangrove thicket.
Arsinoitherium image gallery.
Behind the scenesEdit
List of appearancesEdit
- There is no evidence that Arsinoitherium could make noises through its double horn.
- The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life labelled Arsinoitherium a proboscidean. In real life, Arsinoitherium was an embrithopod; a relative to proboscideans.