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Brontothere

Brontotheres lived: 55 to 30 million years ago. Brontotheres are found in several deposits in Mongolia, and also in huge numbers in the American state of Wyoming.

Type: Brontothere
Diet: Herbivore
Size: About 2.5m high at the shoulder.
Protection status: Extinct
Pronunciation: BRONT-oh-theer (em-bol-oh-THEER-ee-um)
Latin name: Embolotherium andrewsi
Meaning: Brontothere = "Thunder Beast" Embolotherium = "Battering Ram Beast"
Animal Type: Mammal - brontothere
Dietary Type: Herbivorous - Tree branches, shrubs and soft vegetation
Closest Living Relative: Rhinos, tapirs and horses
Size: About 2.5m high at the shoulder

The brontotheres were common and widespread around 40 million years ago, when warm forests were opening into drier plains. They are related to the chalicotheres, rhinos, tapirs and horses and adapted well to the new open conditions, browsing in huge herds across Asia and America where their fossil bones are found in large numbers.

The brontotheres, such as Embolotherium, lived in huge herd on the plains of Mongolia at the eastern end of the Tethys Sea between Eurasia and Africa. In Wyoming, brontothere fossils are found in huge numbers showing that they were equally common on the other side of the land-bridge between Eurasia and North America.

The fossils of Embolotherium show that they had bony growths on the ends of their noses. These weren't like horns, which are made of keratin (the substance that hair and fingernails are made of). The nose bones had actually grown into these bizarre, hollow structures, which were presumably covered with skin like the rest of the head. This means that they were not strong like a rhino's horn, and would have shattered painfully if used as a ram (despite 'Embolotherium' meaning 'battering ram beast').

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