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Toxodon (Bernadino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum)


Toxodon (Greek for "bow tooth"); pronounced TOX-oh-don


Plains of South America

Historical Epoch:

Pleistocene-Modern (3 million-10,000 years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 9 feet long and 1,000 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Short legs and neck; large head; short, flexible trunk


About Toxodon:

Toxodon was what paleontologists call a "notoungulate," a megafauna mammal closely related to the ungulates (hoofed mammals) of the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs but not quite in the same ballpark. Thanks to the wonders of convergent evolution, this herbivore evolved to look very much like a modern rhinoceros, with stubby legs, a short neck, and teeth well adapted to eating tough grass (it may also have been equipped with a short, elephant-like proboscis at the end of its snout). Many Toxodon remains have been found in close proximity to primitive arrowheads, a sure sign that this slow, lumbering beast was hunted to extinction by early humans.

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