May 28, 2024 at 12:29 pm

The Largest Mammal To Ever Walk The Earth Was A Massive Rhino That Was 24 Feet Long And Weighed 17 Tons

by Trisha Leigh

Source: MikSed/Wikipedia

If someone asked you to name the biggest mammal to ever walk the earth, what would you say?

Woolly mammoth? Mastodon?

Let’s find out what the answer really is so you can keep it in your back pocket during your next game of Trivial Pursuit.

Mammals tended to stay pretty small while the dinosaurs thrived, but once they had their chance, they really grew into their own.

The blue whale is the biggest mammal ever to live – up to 98 feet in length and weighing in at 200 tons – but what holds the record on land?

Source: Public Domain

Today, the African elephant holds the title. It’s about 23 feet long, 12 feet tall, and weighs between 4 and 7 tons. They also have the heaviest brain and nose in the game.

As far as ever, though, the title goes to the (now extinct) Paraceratherium.

This was a massive, hornless rhino with a long neck like a giraffe.

It lived primarily in Asia, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan during the early to late Oligocene epoch – that’s 34-23 million years ago).

The largest rhino today is about 13.8 feet long, 6 feet tall, and weighs 3.6 tonnes.

The Paraceratherium was 24 feet long, 15.7 feet high, and is believed to have weighed around 17 tons – way, way bigger.

These numbers are estimates based on a partially reconstructed skeleton at the American Museum of Natural History.

A new species of extinct rhino, called the Paraceratherium linxiaense, was discovered in 2021 in Tibet. The fossils date to around 26.5 million years ago and include a completely preserved skill, mandible, and vertebrae, according to lead author Deng Tao.

“The skull was more than a meter (3 feet) long. It was very rare for a skull of that size to be preserved.”

Souce: Public Domain

The Paraceratherium do have some competition, and since we don’t have a full skeleton, we may not know for sure unless one is unearthed.

Some believe the Palaeoloxodon, a straight-tusked elephant that lived 700,000-50,000 years ago could have been bigger, weighing up to 22 tons.

Source: Diagram Lajard/Wikipedia

We don’t have a full skeleton of it, either, and the estimate comes from a fragment of femur.

Borson’s mastodon, which lived in Eurasia 5 to 2.5 million years ago, was thought to have weighed around 15-16 tons.

So, even if the jury is technically out, the Paraceratherium seems the likely winner.

Now, to find a crown big enough to fit its head.

Thought that was fascinating? Here’s another story you might like: Why You’ll Never See A Great White Shark In An Aquarium