Baluchitherium – largest l and mammal of all times at PMNH

THE PMNH, (Pakistan Museum of Natural History), Islamabad, is the only kind of itself in the country, which preserves the natural past in the form of flora and fauna. The Museum is serving for the last three decades to elaborate natural history. The scientists of PMNH are engaged in the collection, identification and research activities related to plants, animals, fossils, rocks and mineral resources of Pakistan. The distinction of PMNH lies not only in research but also in implementing mass education and awareness about conservation of biodiversity and environmental issues.

The life size display of Baluchitherium (the largest mammal on earth) has been displayed at the PMNH, Garden Avenue, Shakarparian, Islamabad. Baluchitherium, extinct primitive rhinoceros belonging to the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebra, class Mammalia, order Perissodactyla, family Rhinocerotidae and genus Baluchitherium of the Oligocene (about 20 to 30 million years ago) age. The fossils of this giant land mammal were first discovered in the Bugti Hills in 1908 by English paleontologist Sir Clive Foster Cooper who named it Baluchitherium “the beast of Baluchistan”. The major discovery was made in 2000, when a joint team of paleontologists from the University of Montpellier, France and Pakistan Museum of Natural History, Islamabad found an almost complete skeleton of Baluchitherium form the Chitarwata Formation, north of Sui, in the Bugti Hills after a search of almost three years.

The Baluchitherium displayed at PMNH is estimated to have been about 26 feet (8 m) long, 18 feet (5.5 m) tall, and weighed about 20 tons (18000 kg). The skull was 4.25 feet (1.3 m) long and it stood about 5.5 m (18 feet) high at the shoulder. It had four teeth, two tusk-like front teeth in the top jaw, pointing down and two on the bottom pointing forwards. A long and huge neck, its mobile upper lip, pillar like legs enabled the animal to browse among the higher branches of trees. It lived in an environment of the forest type, where its big size enabled him to reach the highest slings and benefit from this advantage to spread itself trough part of Asia.

The Baluchitherium become extinct due to the movements of Asia and Africa destroyed the most important prehistoric sea, the “Tethys”. The disappearance of sea gradually changed the climate of Asia. Baluchistan turned into stony desert from a green valley. The vegetation disappeared and Baluchitherium became extinct.

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