Ancylotherium (Ancylotherium hennigi) was one of the last surviving chalicotheres and was not a knuckle-walker.
Meaning of scientific name
Pronunciation of scientific name
2m high at the shoulder.
One of the last surviving chalicotheres, Ancylotherium was a cousin of the bizarre knuckle-walking chalicotheres of the Oligocene. These animals were built rather like large goats.
Although it was a relatively big animal (2 m tall), it was a very cautious one. It lived side by side with australopithecines.
There were few animals that would tackle an adult Ancylotherium, but its calves were probably vulnerable to predators. Because of this, Ancylotheriumprobably protected its youngsters, even though it was likely to be a solitary animal, and not a social one.
Ancylotherium died out at the end of Pliocene, roughly 2 MYA, when the more modern and advanced herbivores, such as antelope and zebra, evolved and outcompeted it for food resources.
Sparse remains of Ancylotherium have been found at many of the most famous hominid fossil sites in East and South Africa, such as Laetoli, Olduvai and Omo. Miocene era fossils sites are located in Afghanistan, Greece, Kenya, former Serbia and Montenegro and Turkey.
They inhabited the patchy savannah-land of Africa.
They were herbivorous and browsed vegetation.
Ancylotherium’s build enabled it to reach up and browse the vegetation studding the plains of Africa.
Ancylotherium is very similar to the North American chalicothere Moropus, which is better known.
They lived 6.5-2 million years ago. The chalicotheres were cousins to the horses and tapirs, and evolved in the mid Eocene from small, forest-living animals rather like the early horses. In the early Oligocene the family split into two groups: one were rather like goats and the other had developed long claws and had to walk on their knuckles.
Best place to see
Natural History Museum.
Odd-toed hoofed animals (perissodactyls): tapir, horses, rhinos (and the extinct brontotheres)