Ancylotherium

Ancylotherium (Ancylotherium hennigi) was one of the last surviving chalicotheres and was not a knuckle-walker.

Meaning of scientific name
“hooked beast”

Pronunciation of scientific name
AN-sy-loh-THEER-ee-um

Statistics
2m high at the shoulder.

Physical Description
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.

ancylotherium largeThere 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.

Distribution
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.

Habitat
They inhabited the patchy savannah-land of Africa.

Diet
They were herbivorous and browsed vegetation.

Behavior
Ancylotherium’s build enabled it to reach up and browse the vegetation studding the plains of Africa.Ancylotherium

Conservation status
Extinct.

Notes
Ancylotherium is very similar to the North American chalicothere Moropus, which is better known.

History
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.Ancylotherium

Closest relative
Odd-toed hoofed animals (perissodactyls): tapir, horses, rhinos (and the extinct brontotheres)