Brontotheres were a group of animals common and widespread in the late Eocene, related to the chalicotheres, rhinos, tapirs and horses.
Meaning of scientific name
Brontothere = "Thunder Beast", Embolotherium = "Battering Ram Beast".
Pronunciation of scientific name
About 2.5m high at the shoulder.
Brontotheres are rhino-like in appearance, but instead of a horn, they had a spade-like apparatus on the front of their heads.
Brontotheres are found in several deposits in Mongolia, and also in huge numbers in the American state of Wyoming.
They lived on the grassless scrubby plains of Asia and North America.
They browsed the lower branches of trees, shrubs and other soft, easily digested vegetation.
Brontotheres adapted well to the new open conditions, browsing in huge herds across Asia and America. Their bony plates were actually made of bone rather than horn and so may have been more for display than actual combat (they wouldn't have been strong enough for battering). The difference between the large male and small female plates suggests that they were used in sexual displays.
They lived 55-30 million years ago. Brontotheres were among the first large, plains-living animals to evolve when the forests started to open up at the end of the Eocene around 40 million years ago. Their ancestors were tapir-like forest-living animals.
Best place to see
Natural History Museum.
Odd-toed hoofed animals (perissodactyls): tapir, horses, rhinos (and the extinct chalicotheres).