Ancient giraffe relative had thick legs, curly horns

2016-01-13 09:53
"MEPAN Sivatherium" by Hiuppo.

"MEPAN Sivatherium" by Hiuppo.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - An ancient relative of the giraffe was a huge, heavy animal with thick legs, a flat face and massive, curly horns flaring out from its skull, said a study on Wednesday.

Dubbed Sivatherium giganteum, the impressive creature would have been shorter than today's giraffe, with a less elongated neck, a trio of British scientists wrote in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Using bones dug up in India in the 1830s and now in London's Natural History Museum, the team built a computerised 3D reconstruction of an animal they said would have stood about 1.8 m tall at the shoulder and weighed about 1.2 tons.

"This was a heavy animal with thick legs," co-author Christopher Basu told AFP by email.

Added to the large, flattened horns or "ossicones" on the top of the skull, each about 70 cm long, it also had two smaller, pointy horns just over the eyes.

"It would have been an impressive and strong animal," said Basu. "It's face would have looked very different from a giraffe. Giraffe's have very long, pointed skulls. Sivatherium had a very short, flattened skull."

It lived somewhere between the last five million and 12 000 years ago.

Related to the giraffe and its cousin the okapi, Sivatherium was possibly the largest ruminant animal - those with multi-compartmented stomachs - to ever have lived.

The first scientists to study Sivatherium bones misclassified the animal as an archaic link between modern ruminants and a long-extinct relative of elephants and rhinoceroses.

For the new study, the skeleton was reconstructed using 26 fossil bones from three individual animals. The ribs, back and pelvis are missing.

"We estimated what these might look like from giraffe and okapi anatomy - the two living relatives," said Basu.

Read more on:    animals

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.