|“||A 12-ton giant. She is an Indricotherium.||„|
|— Allen, describing Indricotherium|
Indricotherium (or Paraceratherium and Baluchitherium), also known as The Giant-Giraffe Rhinoceros, was a genus of large mammal which lived during the Oligocene period. Indricotherium was the largest land animal of all time, of any kind. Essentially it was a giant Rhino, looking for all the world like a rhino trying to be a giraffe, hence it's nick-name "The Giant-Giraffe Rhinoceros".
Indricotherium lived during the Oligocene period from 25-20 million years ago. It shared its environment with animals like Bear dogs, Chalicotherium, Entelodont, and Hyaenodon. Indricotherium was the largest land mammal of its time.
Indricotherium was not only the largest land mammal in its environment, but it was the largest mammalian land animal that ever lived on the Planet Earth. Despite their appearance, Indricotherium were ancestors of rhinos, but it was their size that differentiated them from their future descendants. A fully gown male stood over 21 feet (7 meters) tall, taller than an adult giraffe, and weighed as much as 15 tons, which is equivalent to 8 modern rhinos, therefore making them heavier than an adult elephant. Female Indricotherium were smaller, weighing at 12 tons. In a sense, Indricotherium was the largest rhinoceros that ever exited. Indricotherium could have also easily lived into their eighties, and this longevity gave them a unique knowledge of their environment.
Indricotherium was a solitary animal, only getting together with others during mating season, but also occasionally encountering others and traveling with other Indricotherium in dire need of food and water during a drought. When it came to mating, adult male Indricotheriums often got into fights that included banging each other on their body sides with their heads, and their skulls were specially built to withstand these contests. Additionally, older female Indricotheres that encountered another searching for water would even lead them where a body of water would be.When female Indricotheriums who had just given birth were faced with danger and predators tried to get their babies, the mothers desperately tried to keep their offspring between their legs so they could defend them with powerful kicks. When newborns calves arrived, they would already have weighed a quarter of a ton and therefore, their legs wouldn't have yet gotten used to bearing any weight at all, so the newborns spent the rest of their new time learning how to walk.
During the days of birth, new born Indricothere calves also had food on their minds. It was the beginning of the most vulnerable period in their lives. From the moment they were born, the calves were completely dependent on their mothers for at least the next three years of their lives. They needed their mother's protection, and for their first year in life, they also relied on their mother's milk. This was an astonishingly long commitment for any mother Indricotherium, but if their calves just survived for that long, their size meant that there would not be a single predator on the planet that could touch them.
Indricotherium calves were off their mother's milk when they were about a year of age. And during mating season, when fights between two males was over, calves were at serious risk–the biggest threat to an Indricotherium is an adult male. During mating, calves could get trampled to death.
As Intrichotherium calves reached three years old, they weighed over a ton. When female Indricotherium were about to have a new calf, and at some point in their previous calf's life when they reached three years old, their mothers behaved awkwardly towards their calves, however the female were only doing what they had to do: they literately chased their previous calves away. Female Indricotheriums can have as many as three calves in their lives. So to give their next, unborn calf or calves the best chance in life, they must break the three–year–old bond they had with their previous calves. For those calves, it was time for them to make their own way in the world. Because the mothers had another calf, to both that new-born calf and to her, their previous calves, whether male or female, were nothing but threats. And because of that, even if the previous calf was injured and their mothers were the only safety they knew, those previous calves wouldn't ever again have their mother's protection. They spent rest of their lives alone. This was the hardest lesson of all, but when calves lived to four years old, they were finally large enough to take care of themselves.