Mandible of Brachypotherium, copyright Ghedoghedo.

Belongs within: Ceratomorpha.
Contains: Dicerorhinus.

The Rhinocerotidae, rhinoceroses, are a group of large, heavy-bodied ungulates with living species in Africa and tropical Asia. Fossil representatives have a broader distribution in Eurasia and North America. Members of this group have more or less well-developed keratinous horns. Diceros, Ceratotherium and Dicerorhinus have one horn on the snout and one above the eyes whereas species of Rhinoceros possess the nose horn only. Species of Rhinoceros and Dicerorhinus have prominent folds in the skin around the shoulders and hips, giving the animal an ‘armour-plated’ appearance.

Characters (from Animal Diversity Web): Body massive; skin thick, scantily-haired and wrinkled, furrowed or pleated, producing appearance of riveted armor plates in some species. Head large with one or two dermal horns composed of compressed, fibrous keratin; eyes small; ears fairly short but prominent and erect. Skull elongate, elevated posteriorly. Braincase small; nasal bones projecting forward freely, may extend beyond and above premaxillae; surface of nasals roughened beneath horns; occipital crest strongly developed. 24-34 teeth present, dental formula 1-2/0-1, 0/1-1, 3-4/3-4, 3/3; canines and incisors vestigial except for sometimes lower incisors which may be developed into powerful slashing tusks; cheek teeth with prominent transverse lophs of enamel. Chest broad; legs short, stumpy legs. Radius/ulna and tibia/fibula only slightly moveable but well-developed and separate. Fore- and hind feet mesaxonic with 3 digits each; each digit with a small hoof. Tail with stiff bristles.

    |--Chilotheridium Hooijer 1971H78
    |    `--*C. pattersoni Hooijer 1971H78
    |    |--Aceratherium Kaup 1832H78
    |    |    |--A. acutirostratum (Deraniyagala 1951) [=Turkanatherium acutirostratus]H78
    |    |    |--A. albigense Deperet 1912F91
    |    |    |--A. incisivumH78
    |    |    |--A. lemanenseH78
    |    |    `--A. minutum Kaup 1834F91
    |    |--EpiaceratheriumF91
    |    |--Praeaceratherium minus (Filhol 1884)F91
    |    |--ProtoaceratheriumF91
    |    |--RonzotheriumF91
    |    `--TongricerosF91
    |--Brachypotherium Roger 1904H78
    |    |--B. aurelianense (Nouel 1866) [=Rhinoceros aurelianensis, Teleoceras aurelianense]H78
    |    |--B. brachypusH78
    |    |--B. goldfussiH78
    |    |--B. heinzelini Hooijer 1963H78
    |    |--B. lewisi Hooijer & Patterson 1972H78
    |    |--B. perimenseCS04
    |    |--B. snowi (Fourtau 1920) [=Teleoceras snowi]H78
    |    `--B. stehlini Viret 1961H78
    |--+--Aphelops Cope 1873H78, C77
    |  |    |--A. crassus [=Rhinocerus crassus]C77
    |  |    |--A. jemezanus Cope 1877C77
    |  |    |--A. megalodusC77
    |  |    `--A. meridianus [=Rhinocerus meridianus]C77
    |  `--Teleoceras Hatcher 1894H78
    |       |--T. fossigerD07
    |       |--T. guymonenseD07
    |       |--T. hicksiD07
    |       |--T. majorD07
    |       |--T. medicornutumH78
    |       |--T. meridianumD07
    |       `--T. proterumD07
    |--+--Paradiceros Hooijer 1968H78
    |  |    `--P. mukirii Hooijer 1968H78
    |  `--+--Diceros Gray 1821H78
    |     |    |--D. bicornisH78
    |     |    |    |--D. b. bicornisR86
    |     |    |    |--D. b. bruciiR86
    |     |    |    `--D. b. michaeliR86
    |     |    |--D. douariensisH78
    |     |    `--D. pachygnathusH78
    |     `--Ceratotherium Gray 1867H78
    |          |--C. praecox Hooijer & Patterson 1972H78
    |          `--C. simumH78
    |               |--C. s. simumH78
    |               |--C. s. cottoniBP87
    |               `--C. s. germanoafricanumH78
    `--+--Rhinoceros Linnaeus 1758FS15, L58
       |    |--R. bicornis Linnaeus 1758L58
       |    |--R. indicusC77
       |    |--R. sondaicusFS15
       |    |    |--R. s. sondaicusSM06
       |    |    `--R. s. annamiticus Heude 1892SM06
       |    `--R. unicornis Linnaeus 1758L58
          `--+--Coelodonta Blumenbach 1807FS15, D07
             |    |--C. antiquitatisFS15
             |    `--C. nihowanensisDW04
                  |--S. etruscus [=Rhinoceros etruscus, Dicerorhinus etruscus]ME05
                  |    |--S. e. etruscusME05
                  |    `--‘Dicerorhinus’ e. brachycephalusME05
                  |--S. hemitoechusFS15
                  |--S. hundsheimensisME05
                  `--S. kirchbergensisFS15
Rhinocerotidae incertae sedis:
    |--C. anderssoniDW04
    |--C. palaeosinenseCS04
    `--C. wimaniDW04
  Tichorhinus antiquitatesB61
  Trigonias Lucas 1900D07
    |--T. osborni Lucas 1900S96
    |--T. wellsiD07
    `--T. yoderensisD07
  Hyrachyus Leidy 1871HUG17, SM93 [Hyrachyidae]
    |--H. agrestisG52
    |--H. asiaticusD07
    |--H. douglassiTPG96
    |--H. eximius Leidy 1871H96
    |--H. modestusD07
    `--H. singularis Cope 1875C77
  Euryodon Xu et al. 1979SM93
  Lushiamynodon Chow & Xu 1965SM93
  Teletaceras radinskyi Hanson 1989H96
  Penetrigonias sagittatusS96
  Subhyracodon occidentalis (Leidy 1850) (see below for synonymy)P96
  Diceratherium Marsh 1875S96, D07
    |--D. annectensD07
    |--D. armatum Marsh 1875S96
    |--D. gregoriiD07
    |--D. niobrarenseD07
    `--D. tridactylumD07
Inorganic: Rhinoceros unicornis protominilorientalis Okamura 1987O87

Subhyracodon occidentalis (Leidy 1850) [=Rhinoceros occidentalis, Aceratherium occidentale; incl. Hyracodon planiceps Scott & Osborn 1887 (nom. rej.)]P96

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B61] Banfield, A. W. F. 1961. A revision of the reindeer and caribou, genus Rangifer. National Museum of Canada Bulletin 177: i–vi, 1–137.

[BP87] Burton, J. A., & B. Pearson. 1987. Collins Guide to the Rare Mammals of the World. Collins: London.

[CS04] Chaimanee, Y., V. Suteethorn, P. Jintasakul, C. Vidthayanon, B. Murandat & J.-J. Jaeger. 2004. A new orang-utan relative from the Late Miocene of Thailand. Nature 427: 439–441.

[C77] Cope, E. D. 1877. Report upon the extinct Vertebrata obtained in New Mexico by parties of the expedition of 1874. Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian 4 (2): i–iv, 1–370.

[DW04] Deng T., Wang X., Ni X. & Liu L. 2004. Sequence of the Cenozoic mammalian faunas of the Linxia Basin in Gansu, China. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition) 78 (1): 8–14.

[D07] Dixon, D. 2007. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures. Hermes House: London.

[FS15] Faurby, S., & J.-C. Svenning. 2015. A species-level phylogeny of all extant and late Quaternary extinct mammals using a novel heuristic-hierarchical Bayesian approach. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 14–26.

[F91] Freess, W. B. 1991. Beiträge zur Kenntnis von Fauna und Flora des marinen Mitteloligozäns bei Leipzig. Altenburger Naturwissenschaftliche Forschungen 6: 3–74.

[G52] Gazin, C. L. 1952. The Lower Eocene Knight Formation of western Wyoming and its mammalian faunas. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 117 (18): 1–82, 11 pls.

[HUG17] Halliday, T. J. D., P. Upchurch & A. Goswami. 2017. Resolving the relationships of Paleocene placental mammals. Biological Reviews 92 (1): 521–550.

[H96] Hanson, C. B. 1996. Stratigraphy and vertebrate faunas of the Bridgerian-Duchesnean Clarno Formation, north-central Oregon. In: Prothero, D. R., & R. J. Emry (eds) The Terrestrial Eocene–Oligocene Transition in North America pp. 206–239. Cambridge University Press.

[H78] Hooijer, D. A. 1978. Rhinocerotidae. In: Maglio, V. J., & H. B. S. Cooke (eds) Evolution of African Mammals pp. 371–378. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[L58] Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii: Holmiae.

[ME05] Moullé, P.-E., A. Echassoux, F. Lacombat, E. Desclaux & S. Bailon. 2005. L’environnement animal des premiers habitants de l’Europe méditerranéenne: les grands mammifères contemporains de l’homme du Vallonnet, données taxonomiques et biostratigraphiques pour la deuxième moitie du Pléistocène inférieur. BAR International Series 1364: 105–113.

[O87] Okamura, C. 1987. New facts: Homo and all Vertebrata were born simultaneously in the former Paleozoic in Japan. Original Report of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory 15: 347–573.

[P96] Prothero, D. R. 1996. Hyracodontidae. In: Prothero, D. R., & R. J. Emry (eds) The Terrestrial Eocene–Oligocene Transition in North America pp. 652–663. Cambridge University Press.

[R86] Ryder, O. A. 1986. Species conservation and systematics: the dilemma of subspecies. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 1 (1): 9–10.

[SM06] Schwendinger, P., & J. Martens. 2006. A taxonomic revision of the family Oncopodidae V. Gnomulus from Vietnam and China, with the description of five new species (Opiliones, Laniatores). Revue Suisse de Zoologie 113 (3): 595–615.

[S96] Storer, J. E. 1996. Eocene-Oligocene faunas of the Cypress Hills Formation, Saskatchewan. In: Prothero, D. R., & R. J. Emry (eds) The Terrestrial Eocene–Oligocene Transition in North America pp. 240–261. Cambridge University Press.

[SM93] Stucky, R. K., & M. C. McKenna. 1993. Mammalia. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 739–771. Chapman & Hall: London.

[TPG96] Tabrum, A. R., D. R. Prothero & D. Garcia. 1996. Magnetostratigraphy and biostratigraphy of the Eocene-Oligocene transition, southwestern Montana. In: Prothero, D. R., & R. J. Emry (eds) The Terrestrial Eocene–Oligocene Transition in North America pp. 278–311. Cambridge University Press.

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