Aceratherium porpani: New Late Miocene Species of Hornless Rhino from Thailand

Paleontologists have identified a new species of hornless rhino from fossil skull and mandible found in the Tha Chang area, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand.

Reconstruction of the Late Miocene habitat of Aceratherium porpani (Chen Yu)

Reconstruction of the Late Miocene habitat of Aceratherium porpani (Chen Yu)

The fossils have been collected by local villagers working in the Tha Chang sand pits, located about 140 miles northeast of Bangkok.

Dr Tao Deng from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his colleagues have studied them and described as a new species in the genus Aceratherium.

“It is a mid-sized rhinocerotid in the subfamily Aceratheriinae, and represents the first discovery of Aceratherium in Thailand,” wrote Dr Deng and colleagues in a paper in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Skull of Aceratherium porpani: dorsal, lateral and ventral view (Tao Deng et al)

Skull of Aceratherium porpani: dorsal, lateral and ventral view (Tao Deng et al)

The new rhino has been named Aceratherium porpani in honor of Porpan Vachajitpan, who donated the specimens to science.

“This new species has a mixture of primitive and derived characters that differ from the known species of Aceratherium, A. incisivum, and A. depereti.”

“The evolutionary stage of A. porpani is consistent with the latest Miocene age of the associated fauna and flora in the Tha Chang sand pits.”

Now, the Aceratherium porpani fossils are in the Northeastern Research Institute of Petrified Wood and Mineral Resources, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

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Bibliographic information: Tao Deng et al. 2013. A new species of Aceratherium (Rhinocerotidae, Perissodactyla) from the late Miocene of Nakhon Ratchasima, northeastern Thailand. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 977-985; doi: 10.1080/02724634.2013.748058