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Brontotherium (Megacerops)



Brontotherium (Nobu Tamura)


Brontotherium (Greek for "thunder beast"); pronounced bron-toe-THEE-ree-um; also known as Megacerops


Plains of North America

Historical Epoch:

Late Eocene-Early Oligocene (38-30 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 16 feet long and 1-2 tons



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large size; paired, blunt appendages on end of snout


About Brontotherium (Megacerops):

Brontotherium is one of those prehistoric megafauna mammals that has been "discovered" over and over again by paleontologists, as a result of which it has been known by no less than four different names (the others are Megacerops, Brontops and Titanops). Lately, paleontologists have largely settled on Megacerops ("giant horned face"), but Brontotherium ("thunder beast") has proven more enduring with the general public.

Brontotherium (or whatever you choose to call it) was very similar to its close contemporary, Embolotherium, albeit slightly bigger and sporting a different head display, which was larger in males than in females. Befitting its similarity to the dinosaurs that preceded it by tens of millions of years (most notably the hadrosaurs, or duck-billed dinosaurs), Brontotherium had an unusually small brain for its size. Technically, it was a perissodactyl (odd-toed ungulate), which places it in the same general family as prehistoric horses and tapirs, and there's some speculation that it may have figured on the lunch menu of the huge carnivorous mammal Andrewsarchus.


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