Hippopotamus antiquus

The Hippopotamus antiquus is also called European hippopotamus. It has now become extinct. It belongs to the Pleistocene epoch. It became extinct during the last glacial period of the Pleistocene epoch.

About Hippopotamus antiquus

It ranged from Iberian Peninsula to British Isles and from Rhine River to Greece. They weigh around 3,200 kgs. They first appeared around 1.8 million years ago. The Cretan dwarf hippopotamus evolved from this species through the process called insular dwarfism. Insular dwarfism is a natural process through which larger animals evolve into smaller animals. It occurs as the environment of the animal becomes smaller.

Fossils

In 2021, palaeontologists found a hippo tooth in Westbury cave, England. It is one million years old. According to the palaeontologists, this species was much larger than the current hippopotamus of Europe. They were twice the size of the current day hippos. Also, they mostly relied on aquatic habitats. Their legs were shorter and the eye sockets were positioned higher on the skull. With this, the palaeontologists have proved that hippopotamus lived in Europe two million years ago.

Unrecognised Warm period

The Hippopotamus antiquus are believed to belong to an unrecognised warm period. During this period, the early humans started settling in the region. Also, the hippos restricted themselves to these regions for its warm climate.

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