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The single family of the extinct mammalian superfamily Brontotherioidea.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a family of extinct mammals of the order Perissodactyla. They existed in the Paleocene period (from the Lower Eocene to the Lower Oligocene). Outwardly similar to rhinoceroses, their skulls were long and low and concave in the middle portion (in most mammals this portion protrudes). Their size varied from that of a horse to a small elephant (height at the shoulders, up to 2.5 m). The most ancient Brontotheriidae were hornless. Later ones developed paired hornlike devices on the anterior part of the skull. The molars were short and nodular-pectinate. The extremities were short and massive with four digits on the forefoot and three on the hind foot. Brontotheriidae lived in open places near bodies of water and fed on soft vegetation. They are known to have existed in North America, Asia, and Europe. Small brain dimensions and the inadequacy of their teeth were the probable causes for their short span of existence.


Osnovy paleontologii: Mlekopitaiushchie. Moscow, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Beijing, April 21 (Petra) -- Chinese archaeologists have unearthed several brontothere fossils dating back more than 34 million years in the city of Lingwu, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
The team used an analysis of carbon and oxygen isotopes extracted from the fossil teeth of three varieties of mammals from Ellesmere Island - a hippo-like, semi-aquatic creature known as Coryphodon, a second, smaller ancestor of today's tapirs and a third rhino-like mammal known as brontothere.
Before this, even larger ancient mammals such as Brontotheres (30 M b.p.), Indricotheres and Chalicotheres (20 M b.p.), and Litopterns (10 M b.p.) must have imposed important evolutionary pressures on the vegetation.