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Hippopotamus gorgops
Topic Started: Jan 8 2012, 02:19 PM (854 Views)
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Hippopotamus gorgops

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Fossil range: Late Miocene–Middle Pleistocene

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Hippopotamidae
Genus: Hippopotamus
Species: †H. gorgops

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Hippopotamus gorgops ("Gorgon-eyed river horse") is an extinct species of hippopotamus. It first appeared in Africa during the late Miocene, and eventually migrated into Europe during the early Pliocene (where its fossils were first discovered). It became extinct prior to the Ice Age.

With a length of 4.3 metres (14 ft) and a shoulder height of 2.1 metres (6.9 ft) H. gorgops was much larger than its living relative, H. amphibius. Another feature setting it apart from H. amphibius were its eyes. Modern hippos have eyes placed high on the skull, but H. gorgops took things a step further and had what could be described as short eye stalks, making it even easier for the creature to see its surroundings while (almost) fully under water.

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In The Evolution of Artiodactyls by Donald R. Prothero and Scott E. Foss it is said that H. antiquus is the largest known hippopotamid and this paper (open access) says that the largest known H. antiquus is an individual found in Germany, estimated to weight 3.2 tonnes but that most where less than ~2.5 tonnes. It seems H. gorgops, while also larger than the extant Hippo was nowhere near as big as the OP (or most of the [unreferenced] internet) says.

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