Temporal range: Late Pleistocene
|Woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) skeleton on display|
The woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) was a large mammal species of rhinoceros, now extinct. It was widespread throughout the tundra of northern Eurasia during the Pleistocene epoch, about 1.8 million years ago until about 10,000 years ago (the end of the last ice age).
Recently, the earliest known woolly rhino fossil was discovered from 3.6 million years in the Himalayas on the cold Tibetan plateau. It lived there during a period of general climate warmth around the earth. It is believed that they migrated from there to other parts when the ice age developed.
It was well adapted to the cold; it had thick, shaggy fur, small ears, short legs, and a massive body (all to lessen heat loss). Fossils of this early rhino have been found, in addition to well-preserved corpses, which were found in frozen gravel in Siberia. Stone Age humans hunted woolly rhinos; they drew pictures of the rhinos on cave walls 30,000 years ago, giving us even more information about these large mammals.
- Ice Age giants may have evolved in Tibet. CNN 1 September 2011.