The Oligocene epoch began around 34 million years ago and ended around 23 million years ago. At this time Earth had just been through years of severe climate change that caused a mild extinction event, but most forms of life recovered quickly. In contrast to the earlier Eocene, the climate of the Oligocene was cooler and drier, a consequence of of the growth of the Antarctic ice cap and the movement in the continents. The Alps began to rise in Europe as Africa drifted further North, and the Himalayas continued to rise as well in Asia. South America finally detached from Antarctica and became an island continent. The new climate caused rainforests around the planet to disappear until they were largely restricted to the tropics. Deciduous forests replaced the jungles in many temperate regions, as did open plains and prairies. Grasses became more common as well but still did not cover enough of the ground to form the vast grasslands and savannas we see today.
With open plains becoming more and more common, many large mammals grew longer legs and bigger bodies in order to survive in this new habitat. Herbivores like rhinos, camels, horses and sheep-like oreodonts evolved to become faster, bigger and stronger both to be able to travel further in search of food and water and to be able to flee and/or fight off the many carnivores that grew bigger and faster, such as the powerful hyaenodonts, pig-like entelodonts, and cat-like ninravids. The first cats and dogs evolved in Eurasia and North America, respectively, but both were smaller and had shorter limbs than their descendants. Early relatives of elephants appeared but were still relatively small, while other mammals grew huge. Chalicotheres were related to horses and rhinos but had long claws and knuckle-walked like modern anteaters. One type of rhino known as the indricothere became one of, if not the largest land mammal of all time, standing over 20 feet tall and weighing around 20 tons, bigger than the vast majority of dinosaurs. The fauna of South America, isolated from the world, evolved along its own lines and included unique families of marsupials, metatherians, hoofed mammals, xenarthrians and giant birds.The first new world monkeys appeared in South America after crossing the Atlantic from Africa, while old world monkeys and other primates continued to survive throughout Eurasia and Africa while dying out in North America.
†Hoplophoneus primaevus: the nimravids were a family of predators in the order Carnivora that were very similar to modern cats, and indeed close relatives of cats as well as mongooses and civets. Along with other large meat-eaters they filled the role of predators in many parts of the world before modern predators like true cats evolved. Hoplophoneus lived from the Eocene to the Oligocene in North America and is one of many nimravids often called "false saber-tooths" given their cat-like bodies and lifestyles and elongated canine teeth. At up to 350 pounds Hoplophoneus was as big as a jaguar and with a robust body, short but strong limbs and massive canines it was a formidable hunter that may have attacked prey from low tree branches like a leopard.
†Hyaenodon gigas: another carnivore that evolved during the Eocene, Hyaenodon was the apex predators of Eurasia, North America and Africa from the Eocene until the Miocene for around 25 million years. Despite the name it was not related to hyenas or any living carnivorous mammal. Its jaws were similar to a wolf but much more heavily built, as was the body. Hyaenodon gigas was the biggest of its kind at up to 10 feet long and over 1000 pounds in weight. Its small brain compared to modern hunters suggest it was solitary, but this wouldn't prevent it from hunting giant mammals like rhinos, brontotheres and chalicotheres.
†Peltephilus ferox: one of many strange families that evolved in South America's isolation were the armadillos, and Peltephilus was one of the strangest with a pair of short horns on the snout. The size of a dog, it used its long claws for burrowing like modern armadillos. While its modern cousins feed on insects, this animal is believed to have eaten plant matter based on its tooth structure.
†Merycoidodon cubertsoni: Merycoidodon was a mid-sized generalist grazer that belonged to the diverse family of oreodonts which were among the most common herbivores of the Oligocene plains and woodlands. Built like a sheep and about the same size, Merycoidodons closest relatives are believed to be the camelids. Skulls show that had similar scent-glands in front of their eyes to deer, and their herds may have been territorial.
†Archaeotherium mortoni: this cow-sized beast was a type of entelodont, a very successful family of ungulates resembling giant pigs but are closer in relation to hippos and whales. They roamed North America and Asia as opportunistic omnivores. Archaeotherium would have eaten almost anything from roots and tubers to carrion to live prey as big as rhinos. It's long legs and hooves allowed it run down fast-moving prey and its massive, knobby jaws could crush bone with ease. Archaeotherium may have buried carcasses to save for later, as evidenced by fossilized clusters of camel and rhino bones. Bite marks on the skulls show that entelodonts also used their wicked jaws to fight one another in fierce battles over food and mates.
†Chalicotherium goldfussi: Chalicotherium was a bizarre relative of horses, rhinos and tapirs but instead of hooves it possessed long sharp claws that it protected by walking on its knuckles like an anteater. These claws and its long arms allowed it to browse on leaves in high branches as well as to defend itself from predators. Chalicotherium lived in Eurasia and Africa until the Pliocene about 5 mya.
†Pelagornis sandersi: this strange seabird was remarkable in that it had the largest wingspan of any bird, up to 24 feet from tip to tip. Only the pterosaurs of the Cretaceous had larger wings than this bird. Pelagornis also had strange, point extensions of the beak that resembled teeth allowing it to hold on to slippery prey it caught from the sea.
†Protoceras celer: the protoceratids were a family of ungulates similar in body shape and lifestyle to antelope and deer, with many species sporting bizarre horn-like head-structures. There closest modern relatives may be the small chevrotains. Protoceras of Oligocene North America was one of the most primitive of its kind. Its skull had several pairs of blunt horns that may have been covered in skin like the ossicones of giraffids, Males had longer horns than females, and more pairs of them, as well as a pair of short tusks, suggesting that both features evolved to help males fight for mates or territory.
†Subhyracodon occidentalis: after the extinction of the titanic brontheres at the beginning of the Oligocene, early rhinos like Subhyracodon were the largest animals of the open woodlands and plains. At 8 feet long and over 800 pounds it was bigger than a modern tapir but smaller than most living rhinos. Adapted to running but lacking horns, it was likely common prey for the many large predators of North America such as Hyaenodon and the entelodonts. One set of fossilized footprints show an entelodont stalking and chasing after a Subhyracodon.
†Palaeolagus haydeni: one of the earliest species of rabbit, Palaeolagus lived across the plains of North America 33-23 mya. Fossils suggest it already resembled a modern rabbit or hare, with long ears and large incisors. Their hindlegs were shorter than in modern rabbits suggesting Palaeolagus ran instead of hopped.
†Hesperocyon gregarius: Hesperocyon was one of the first members of the canid family and close to the ancestors of dogs, foxes and wolves. At two feet long it had short limbs, a low-slung body and a long flexible tail, more closely resembling a civet than a dog. Instead of running it probably spent most of its time climbing around trees or rocks. Like many smaller canids today Hesperocyon may have been omnivorous, feeding on both meat and plants such as fruits.
I am a nerdy college guy with an extreme passion for animals of all kinds, especially extinct ones, and a talent and appreciation for art.
What you can expect to see from meinosaurs and paleoart, wildlife art, biblical pieces, speculative evolution works, and perhaps fan-art.
If you love animals(dinosaurs included), have a kind, accepting heart, aren't afraid to be creative or weird, and aren't a douche, lets be friends!
The only real reason I am good at art is because I love animals and have always loved animals.
God and Christianity are important to me, yet I accept the theory of evolution as fact. It's not that hard, people!
I believe that all living things are connected, both spiritually and physically through evolution, and that my way I can please God is to help animals.
My all-time dream is to create my own exotic animal sanctuary so that I can save abused, abandoned and neglected exotic animals and give them natural homes that thy deserve.
Two things make me incredibly angry, abuse and neglect towards animals(especially animals in the exotic pet trade like keeping tigers and lions as pets!) and creationists blatant disregard of paleontological, geological, genetic, and archaeological evidence against their literal interpretation of the book of Genesis.
Any girls out there that wanna draw dinosaurs and rescue tigers with me?
If you don't wanna read the description these stamps sum me up pretty well!(NOT MINE, I JUST USED THEM!)
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