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1 April 2016 Reassessment of the Largest Pleistocene Rhinocerotine Rhinoceros platyrhinus (Mammalia, Rhinocerotidae) from the Upper Siwaliks (Siwalik Hills, India)
Luca Pandolfi, Leonardo Maiorino
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Abstract

We describe and figure a well-preserved, large skull of a rhinoceros, NHMUK 36661, collected in 1860 from Upper Siwalik deposits. This specimen can be referred to Rhinoceros platyrhinus. Comparison with the type material of R. platyrhinus revealed that several specimens previously referred to this taxon, including the lectotype, should instead be assigned to Rhinoceros sp. (potentially R. sivalensis or R. unicornis). Therefore, we here provide new detailed cranial and dental characters for R. platyrhinus, which is currently known only by a few specimens collected from a restricted area of northern India. We suggest that the generic name Punjabitherium erected for R. platyrhinus represents a junior synonym of Rhinoceros due to the morphological affinities of NHMUK 36661 with R. unicornis. A principal component analysis and a cluster analysis confirmed the morphological similarities between R. platyrhinus and R. unicornis. Rhinoceros platyrhinus represents the largest rhinocerotine species in Eurasia and is characterized by a long skull and high-crowned teeth, suggesting that it was a grazer rather than a mixed feeder such as R. unicornis. This is supported by a cluster analysis on the upper teeth. The progressive increase in aridity from ca. 12 Ma to Recent in northern India could have affected the dietary regime of R. platyrhinus towards to a more grazer-like diet.

© by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Luca Pandolfi and Leonardo Maiorino "Reassessment of the Largest Pleistocene Rhinocerotine Rhinoceros platyrhinus (Mammalia, Rhinocerotidae) from the Upper Siwaliks (Siwalik Hills, India)," Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 36(2), (1 April 2016). https://doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2015.1071266
Received: 13 February 2015; Accepted: 1 June 2015; Published: 1 April 2016
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