Ancylotherium (from Greek, meaning "hooked beast") is an extinct genus of the family Chalicotheriidae, subfamily Schizotheriinae, endemic to Europe, Asia, and Africa during the Late Miocene-Early Pleistocene (11.6—1.8 mya), existing for approximately 9.8 million years.[1]

Temporal range: 6.5–1.8 Ma
Late Miocene to Early Pleistocene
A. pentelicum arms
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Chalicotheriidae
Subfamily: Schizotheriinae
Genus: Ancylotherium
Gaudry, 1863
  • A. hennigi
  • A. pentelicum Gaudry and Lartet 1856
  • A. hellenicum Koufos 2012

Taxonomy edit

Ancylotherium was named by Gaudry (1863) and was assigned to Chalicotheriidae by Carroll (1988); and to Schizotheriinae by Geraads et al. (2007).[2][3]

Description edit

Model head based on depiction from documentary Walking with Beasts
Life restoration

With some individuals reaching 2 metres (6.6 ft) high at the shoulder and a weight of 450 kilograms (990 lb), Ancylotherium was relatively large, and was built rather like a goat.[4] Individuals varied considerably in size, and the genus may have been sexually dimorphic, like many other chalicotheres.[5] While it had the typical long forelimbs and short hind limbs of a chalicothere, like other schizotheriines, it did not walk on its knuckles. It was similar to the North American genus Moropus. In at least some individuals of A. pentelicum the frontal bone of the skull is inflated to form a dome, similar to but less marked than in the "dome-headed" chalicothere Tylocephalonyx. This genus is North American and Ancylotherium is likely to be more closely related to other African and European genera, so the feature may have evolved independently in two lineages. This would suggest it reflects a common behavior in schizotheriine chalicotheres, such as using the head as a battering ram in territorial or dominance contests, as modern giraffes do.[5] Ancylotherium had the highest-crowned teeth of any chalicothere, suggesting a diet of more abrasive plants. While this has been reconstructed as leaves, twigs, and tree bark,[6] one skull discovered in China was from a dry steppe zone with few trees; the genus may have been less dependent on browsing leaves than other chalicotheres.[7]

Environment edit

Ancylotherium's habitat was the savannahs of Eurasia, East and South Africa. As a herbivore, it evolved to browse on vegetation on the trees in the grassy savannahs of Africa. Ancylotherium's closest relatives are the other perissodactyls, or "odd-toed" ungulates, including the extinct brontotheres and modern-day mammals such as horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses.

Fossil distribution edit

Fossil remains of Ancylotherium have been found at many of the hominid fossil sites in Plio-Pleistocene Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania, including sites in Laetoli, Olduvai and Omo.[1] Furthermore, Miocene era fossils sites are located in Afghanistan, Greece, Kenya, Serbia and Turkey.[1]

See also edit

  • Moropus (a North American chalicothere)

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "PaleobiologyDatabase: Ancylotherium". Retrieved November 5, 2023.
  2. ^ R. L. Carroll. 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York 1-698
  3. ^ D. Geraads, E. Tsoukala, and N. Spassov. 2007. A skull of Ancylotherium (Chalicotheriidae, Mammalia) from the late Miocene of Thermopigi (Serres, N. Greece) and the relationships of the genus. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
  4. ^ "Ancylotherium -". Archived from the original on 2015-05-29. Retrieved 2022-09-08.
  5. ^ a b Geraads, Denis; Tsoukala, Evangelia; Spassov, Nikolaï (2007-06-12). "A skull of Ancylotherium (Chalicotheriidae, Mammalia) from the late Miocene of Thermopigi (Serres, N. Greece) and the relationships of the genus". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 27 (2): 461–466. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2007)27[461:ASOACM]2.0.CO;2. ISSN 0272-4634. S2CID 54984434.
  6. ^ Kampouridis, Panagiotis; Roussiakis, Socrates J.; Giaourtsakis, Ioannis X.; Kargopoulos, Nikolaos; Svorligkou, Georgia; Theodorou, Georgios E. (2022-03-01). "Ancylotherium pentelicum (Mammalia, Chalicotheriidae) from the late Miocene of Kerassia (Greece) and remarks on its intraspecific variability". Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments. 102 (1): 193–203. doi:10.1007/s12549-021-00497-w. ISSN 1867-1608. S2CID 235801479.
  7. ^ Chen, Shao-kun; Deng, Tao; Pang, Li-bo; He, Wen; Chen, Shan-qin (2012-11-01). "A juvenile skull of Ancylotherium (Mammalia, Perissodactyla, Chalicotheriidae) from the Pliocene of China". Geobios. 45 (6): 527–534. Bibcode:2012Geobi..45..527C. doi:10.1016/j.geobios.2012.06.002. ISSN 0016-6995.

External links edit