16ft tall rhino that lived 26.5million years could be largest ever land mammal

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 A GIANT rhino that lived 26.5 million years ago could be the “largest land mammal” ever, boffins reckon.

The colossal beast was more than 26ft long, 16ft tall and weighed 24 tons.

A giant rhino dug up in China could be 'the largest land mammal' that ever lived, claim scientists

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A giant rhino dug up in China could be ‘the largest land mammal’ that ever lived, claim scientistsCredit: SWNS

It was four times the size of an average African elephant — the biggest animal that walks the Earth today — or eight white rhinos.

The giant rhino — named Paraceratherium linxiaense — roamed Asia. As a herbivore, it eats shoots and leaves.

The Ice Age animal had a slender skull, short trunk and long, muscular neck.

Its fossilised remains were dug up in Gansu, north-western China and had a perfectly preserved jaw, skull and spine parts.

The giant rhino's fossilised remains were dug up in Gansu, north-western China

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The giant rhino’s fossilised remains were dug up in Gansu, north-western ChinaCredit: SWNS
The rhino was a herbivore - it eats shoots and leaves

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The rhino was a herbivore – it eats shoots and leavesCredit: Alamy

Prof Tao Deng, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said: “It is one of the largest land mammals that ever lived.

“Its nose trunk was extremely useful to wrap around branches — allowing the sharp front teeth to strip off the leaves.”

The giant rhino — which did not actually have a horn — is believed to have migrated from Pakistan and would have been hunted by gigantic crocodiles and vicious “dog-bears” called Hemicyon.

Scientists discover frozen carcass of extinct woolly rhino in Ice Age necropolis with its hazel-coloured hair intact after tens of thousands of years

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