Turgai Fauna

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Turgai Fauna


(also indricotherial fauna), the group of animal species, primarily mammals, that inhabited areas of Central Asia and Kazakhstan in the Oligocène. The fauna was first determined for western Kazakhstan by A. A. Borisiak, who described the ancient animal life typical of the Turgai Hollow—the giant hornless rhinoceroses of the family Indricotheriidae and a number of other thermophilic mammals who lived in forest, forest-steppe, and swamp regions.

The most important representatives of the Turgai fauna were the perissodactyls: the Indricotheriidae, small allacerops, hyraco-donts, and swamp-dwelling rhinoceroses, as well as tapiroids and chalicotheres. Insectivores included primitive hedgehogs and shrews, while predators were represented by creodonts, ancient mustelids, and canids. There were also ancient species of the order Lagomorpha. Rodents included the squirrel-like proscidurus, large fossorial cylindrodonts, cricetines, and beavers. Artiodac-tyls included entelodonts, for example, members of the genus Entelodon and anthrocotheres, as well as small gazelle-like ruminants. In addition, remains have been discovered of birds, turtles, fish, insects, and various mollusks.

The composition of the fauna was not homogeneous throughout the vast area of its distribution. The likelihood that the Turgai fauna was widely distributed is further confirmed by the fact that Turgai flora, of the same environmental type and of the same age as the Turgai fauna, was also widely distributed in the temperate zone of Asia.


Zoogeografiia paleogena Azii. Moscow, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.