Chalicotheres lived: 35-3.5 million years ago

Type: Chalicothere
Diet: Herbivore
Protection status: Extinct

Fossil Finds:

Fossils of a knuckle-walking chalicothere called Chalicotherium are found in the Late Oligocene of Asia, but fossils are rare. Knuckle walkers are thought to have evolved in Asia much earlier. 


There are two types of chalicothere - this kind shambled along with most of their weight on their short but strong hind legs. The long front legs had enormously long, curved claws which meant the chalicothere couldn't put its font feet flat on the ground, and instead had to walk on its knuckles.

These chalicotheres had no front teeth in the upper jaw, and even the back teeth show little wear from use, and so they must have been fussy eaters - picking only the newest, freshest shoots and putting them straight into the back of their mouths like modern pandas. Chalicotheres were relatives of the rhinos, horses and tapirs. There were two main types.

The most interesting feature of these chalicotheres is their front hands. They had very large, curved claws preventing the animals from walking on the soles of their feet. Instead they walked on their knuckles, claws bent in towards their wrists.

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