Introduction to the Embrithopoda

Arsinoitherium skull
Arsinoitherium skull. Photo © 1998-2002 Biological Sciences, University of Paisley, Scotland.

Arsinoitherium (right) is by far the best-known member of the extinct mammalian order Embrithopoda. Embrithopods looked something like rhinos but were more closely related to elephants. Arsinoitherium had two great bony horns on its head, unlike living rhinos, in which the horns are not bony but formed from modified hair papillae. It is now known that not all embrithopods had horns.

Until recently, Arsinoitherium, from the Oligocene of Fayum, Egypt, was the only embrithopod known. In the late 1970s, a few more fossil embrithopod species were described from Mongolia, Turkey, and Romania.

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