Sunday, April 26, 2009

Embolotherium grangeri

Little something I whipped up last night after flipping through Matthew Mihlbachler's epic Species Taxonomy, Phylogeny, and Biogeography of the Brontotheriidae (Mammalia: Perissodactyla, available for free at the American Museum Novitates website. It is almost 500 pages of brontothere excellence.
Fun fact: all those restorations you see of many brontotheres (including Embolotherium) with a giant horn sticking out of the nose is wrong--the nasal "ram" has a deep channel on the anteroventral surface for the nasal septum. This means the nasal cavity extended to the peak of the ram. These were big-nosed animals! Of the two species of Embolotherium, E. grangeri's ram is tame by comparison to E. andrewsi!


Will Baird said...


That's not Permian!


Ivan said...

Yikes. Serious? Wow. The image of the brontothere as a rhinolike beast with a Y-shaped horn on its nose is so firmly entrenched, that it is very hard to get used to this portrayal.

Brad said...

For the sake of being totally weird, why not put the nostrils at the tip of the "horn"? :)

mmihlbac said...

Its entirely possible that the nostrils were at the tip of the horn. We know the nasal cavity extended to the tip of the horn, but we don't know the position of the nostrils or even the size and shape of the nostrils. When I redescribed Embolotherium and worked with Mick Ellison (the American Museum of Natural History artist who drew the new reconstruction), we put the nostrils down low just to be conservative. I'd love to see a less conservative reconstruction.

Matthew Mihlbachler