1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Toxodon

By

toxodon

Toxodon (Bernadino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum)

Name:

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

Habitat:

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

Diet:

Grass

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.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.