Tuesday, November 5, 2013


A couple million years ago there were all sorts of gigantic mammals living in North and South America, including the Toxodon. This beat, which weighed over 3000lbs, and measured up to 9ft in length, inhabited the South American plains until about 10,000 years ago.

From its skeleton you might think that Toxodon was a Rhinoceros. But such is not the case. Amazingly, Toxodon belonged to a now completely extinct order called Notoungulata. All animals in that Order are examples of convergent evolution-- they looked and behaved the same as other creatures that they weren't related to at all!

Even though Toxodon and modern Rhinos weren't related, they still had a lot in common. They were very large, they had stout, powerful bodies, and they feed on leaves and other plants. Toxodon was even hunted by humans. Several fossils have been found with arrowheads in the vicinity, proving that these animals were prey for early humans. Hunting may have also played a major role in their extinction-- one theory on the decline of Megafauna is that human hunting wiped them all out!

Status : Extinct, Lived 2.6million to 10,000 years ago
Location : South America
Size : Length up to 9ft (2.7m), Weight up to 3,300lbs (1500kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : †Notoungulata
Family : †Toxodontidae -- Genus : †Toxodon
Image : Richard Owen

1 comment:

  1. Not a theory-the Australian megafauna (giant marsupials, birds, reptiles, and over 2000 island endemics-lineup included several land crocodiles, a giant eagle, and the largest land predator since the dinosaurs) is now known to have gone extinct from humans.


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