Research press release


Communications Biology

Paleontology: New species of giant rhino discovered from 26.5-million-year-old fossils

中国北西部で発見された2650万年前の化石が巨大サイ類の新種のものだったという発見について報告する論文が、Communications Biology に掲載される。

巨大サイ類は、これまでに存在した陸上哺乳類の中で体の大きさが最大級で、主にアジアで発見されているが、その進化的関係は分かっていない。今回、Tao Dengたちの研究チームは、中国北西部の甘粛省のリンシア盆地で、巨大サイ類の新種の遺骨を発掘した。Paraceratherium linxiaenseと命名されたこの動物には、細長い頭蓋骨、短い鼻、長い首、他の巨大サイ種より奥行きの深い鼻腔といった独特な特徴がある。


Researchers have discovered a new species of giant rhino from fossils dating back to 26.5-million-years ago, found in northwestern China. The findings are published in Communications Biology.

The giant rhino is known to be one of the largest land mammals that ever lived. It has primarily been found in Asia, but its evolutionary relationships remain unclear. Tao Deng and colleagues recovered skeletal remains of a new species of giant rhino from the Linxia Basin in the Gansu Province in northwestern China. Dubbed Paraceratherium linxiaense, this animal has distinct characters: a slender skull with a short nose trunk and long neck, and a deeper nasal cavity than other giant rhino species.

The authors’ analyses place this species in a group with another closely related giant rhino species, which together have a close relationship with the giant rhinos of Pakistan. These findings raise the possibility that the giant rhino could have passed through the Tibetan region before it became the elevated plateau it is today. From there, it may have reached the Indian-Pakistani subcontinent in the Oligocene epoch, where other giant rhino specimens have been found.

doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-02170-6


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