Russian legend tells of the legend of the Indrik; the king of all the animals, a gigantic bull with the head of a horse, when he stirs the ground shakes…


The largest mammal to stomp around the planet wasn’t an elephant, and the tallest warm and furry that ever lived wasn’t a giraffe. Say ‘how do you do’ to Indricotherium the biggest bloody rhino you’ll ever set eyes on. He was the biggest standy mammal that ever lived, and the biggest leggy thing on the planet since the huge sauropod dinosaurs, yes that’s right the ones with the long necks, four legs, big chap… can’t miss them… diplodocus and brontosaurus and whatnot…

It’s no coincidence either that this elephantine-giraffey looking rhino had come to look like a honking great reachy thingy. They ate the leaves at the top of trees, in a word; browsers. They chomped on leaves and twigs, also known as browse. As opposed to grazers who not surprisingly eat grass.

I say!

Millions of years before Indricotherium there were the big sauropod dinosaurs who had honking great necks to pluck at vegetation. After them came the big reachy rhino we are dribbling on about now, and after him came the long necked giraffes and indeed the elephants who gave up on the whole neck thing and grew a honking great honker. All rather distinctive creatures that have evolved into the same shape to get at the same bit of grub. Indeed if you look at the outline of each, they all look much the same. Like different animals made of putty, with different bits squidged out into long bits for getting at those lovely browse. They did have something in common though… they were all beasts that could shake the very earth beneath your feet.

Published in: on May 12, 2010 at 3:12 pm  Comments (2)