Woolly rhinoceros roaming the tundra of Palaeartica during the Pleistocene

Woolly rhinoceros

When woolly rhinoceros horns were found in Russia during the 19th century, many believed that the strange-looking objects were the claws of giant birds. Frozen carcasses found since in Siberia completed the picture. The horns are worn down on the under surface which suggests they were swept back and forth sideways on the ground. This may have been to help clear snow off the grass, or as part of a ritual display, as in some modern rhinos. The woolly rhino's closest living relative is the Sumatran rhino.

Scientific name: Coelodonta antiquitatis

Rank: Species

Common names:

ancient cavity tooth

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The following habitats are found across the Woolly rhinoceros distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

Pleistocene epoch Pleistocene epoch
During the Pleistocene, glaciers came and went, resulting in a series of ice ages punctuated by warmer periods. There were at least 20 cycles of this advance and retreat.

What their world was like

Ice age Ice age
The last ice age hasn't ended, the climate has just warmed up a bit causing the ice sheets to retreat. When the ice was more extensive, our climate was very different.

BBC News about Woolly rhinoceros