These enormous mammals were the giants of their time. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 ABelov2014
Weighing the equivalent of four elephants, Paraceratherium linxiaense was an absolute monster.
When we think of large extinct land mammals, we tend to think of the woolly mammoth, however there was another, even larger genus of gargantuan land mammal that towered over everything else.
Paraceratherium - which was an extinct genus of rhinoceros - was among the largest land mammals that ever walked the face of the Earth. Lacking the horns of modern rhinos, it grazed the prehistoric treetops from the early to late Oligocene epoch around 34-23 million years ago.
Now the fossil remains of a new, particularly large species - Paraceratherium linxiaense - have been discovered near Wangjiachuan village in north-western China.
Dating back 26.5 million years, weighing in at 21 tons and standing 23ft tall, this enormous creature once roamed between what is now north-west China and the Indian-Pakistani subcontinent.
"Tropical conditions allowed the giant rhino to return northward to Central Asia, implying that the Tibetan region was still not uplifted as a high-elevation plateau," said study author Dr Deng Tao.