2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Dinosaurs


Conservation status
Extinct (fossil)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Superfamily: Rhinocerotidae
Family: Hyracodontidae
Subfamily: Indricotheriinae
Borissiak, 1923
Genus: Indricotherium
Borissiak, 1915
Species: I. transouralicum
Binomial name
Indricotherium transouralicum
( Pavlova, 1922)

Indricotherium lived in Asia during the late Oligocene and early Miocene epoch of the Tertiary Period, The Indricotherium is known to have been the largest land mammal ever. The mean size of adults is estimated to have been 5m (16.5 ft) tall, 8m (26.5 ft) in length and a weight of about 15 tons. It was a herbivore that stripped leaves from trees with its down-pointing, tusk-like upper teeth that occluded forward-pointing lower teeth.

These giant animals seem to have been limited to central Asia and southernmost parts of Pakistan, for their fossils have not been found elsewhere.

The correct Latin names for fossils in this group (the indricotheres) are a matter of uncertainty. It is also widely known as "Baluchitherium" ("beast of Baluchistan"), as it was first discovered in Baluchistan, South West Province of Pakistan. This genus name, Baluchitherium Forster Cooper 1913, is now widely regarded as a synonym of his earlier genus Paraceratherium Forster Cooper 1911. However, the animal once widely known as Baluchitherium grangeri Osborn 1923 is now thought to be the same as Indricotherium transouralicum Pavlova 1922. The older species name takes priority.

There is also disagreement over whether Indricotherium Borissiak 1915 is a distinct genus from Paraceratherium. Lucas and Sorbus 1989 argue for synonymy, and consider that the differences between the two are of species level at most, and may even be the result of sexual dimorphism in a single species, with the larger more robust Indricotherium with larger incisors being probably the male, and the more gracile Paraceratherium the female. Others, however, have expressed doubts about this (concerning the interpretation of the shape of the skull). Even if these two do turn out to be distinct genera, they would still be very similar in size and appearance.

Indricotherium is named after a mythical Russian beast called the " indrik", considered the most powerful creature and the father of the animals.

In popular culture

  • Baluchitherium is a Van Halen instrumental from their 10th studio album (11th overall), Balance.
  • The baluchitherium is a monster appearing in the computer game Nethack.
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