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European Hippopotamus

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European Hippopotamus


Temporal range: Pleistocene
Hippopotamus antiquus in Florence Palaeontology museum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Hippopotamidae
Genus: Hippopotamus
Species: H. antiquus
Binomial name
Hippopotamus antiquus
Desmarest 1822[1]

Hippopotamus antiquus, sometimes called the European Hippopotamus, was a species of hippopotamus that ranged across Europe, becoming extinct some time before the last ice age at the end of the Pleistocene epoch. H. antiquus ranged from the Iberian Peninsula to the British Isles to the Rhine River to Greece.[2][3]

Similar in size and form to Hippopotamus gorgops, H. antiquus on average was larger than the modern common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius). H. antiquus is believed to have first appeared around 1.8 million years ago, compared to 2 million years ago for H. amphibius. Beginning in the Middle Pleistocene, H. amphibius also lived in Europe, but is not considered a European Hippopotamus. [4]

The Cretan Dwarf Hippopotamus (H. creutzburgi) is believed to have evolved from H. antiquus through the process of insular dwarfism on the island of Crete.

References

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