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Comparative ontogenetic analysis of extant rhinos and Teleoceras major, a North American rhino
 
SVPCA Conference
 
Platform presentation (20 minutes)
Authors
 
*Mark D Hagge
 
Abstract
 
Exceptional preservation of the North American Miocene rhino species Teleoceras major at Ashfall Fossil Beds, Nebraska, allows for an ontogenetic comparison with the extant rhinos. The skull ontogenies of the extant rhinos Ceratotherium simum (white rhino), Diceros bicornis (black rhino), Rhinoceros unicornis (Indian rhino), and Dicerorhinus sumatrensis (Sumatran rhino) were obtained and compared with Teleoceras major. Eighteen developmental age classes ranging from infants to old adults were distinguished for each species using posterior mandibular dental eruption and wear patterns, similar to those developed by Hitchins (1978).

Teleoceras shares several adult characters with the extant rhinos, such as a strong mandibular angle (Diceros, Rhinoceros), a deep mandibular body (Ceratotherium), and a high zygomatic arch (Rhinoceros). Teleoceras displays ontogenetic patterns not present in extant rhinos. For example, a strong mandibular angle and a robust zygomatic arch develop earlier in Teleoceras major than in Rhinoceros and Diceros. In addition, the mandibular body in juvenile Teleoceras is slender and tapers anteriorly as in adult Rhinoceros and Dicerorhinus, yet it develops into a deep body that is characteristic of Ceratotherium at all age classes. Despite these differences, some developmental patterns are consistent, such as the transition of the lower second incisor into tusk-form at Age Class 8 in Teleoceras, Rhinoceros, and Dicerorhinus. A geometric morphometric analysis of ontogenetic shape change further compares developmental patterns.

London 2020