Uintatheriidae

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Uintatheriidae
Eobasileus cornutus.jpg
Eobasileus cornutus
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Class Mammalia
Sub-class Theria
Infra-class Eutheria
Order Information
Superorder Laurasiatheria
Order Dinocerata
Family Information
Family Uintatheriidae
Population statistics
Conservation status Extinct

Uintatheriidae is a family of large, extinct mammals principally found in fossil beds of North America and China.

Description

Superficially their overall appearance was similar to a modern-day rhinoceros. They were heavy, robust animals with columnar legs and reached large size, up to 13 feet long, nearly 6 feet high at the shoulder, and up to approximately two tons in weight. The skull was small in comparison to its body size, but stoutly-built, heavily-concave in the rear, and bore up to six bony ossicones. The nature and function of the ossicones is as of yet unknown, but it gave the animal an appearance of bearing six horns. The braincase within the skull was extremely small for such a large animal, as were the eye sockets, which were a mere hollow above and in front of the cheekbones, indicating the animal's sense of sight was poor.

The molar teeth were cusp-shaped and peaked, indicating they were browsers rather than grazers; however, they also bore small lower incisors but no uppers, similar to cattle and deer, indicating it may have been possible for these animals to graze as well. Large, saber-like canine teeth jutted downward from the upper jaw, and were partially protected by a flange of bone on either side of the lower jaw when the mouth was closed.

Species

Family Uintatheriidae

  • Subfamily Gobiatheriinae
Genus Gobiatherium
Gobiatherium major
Gobiatherium mirificum
Gobiatherium monolobotum
  • Subfamily Uintatheriinae
Genus Bathyopsis
Bathyopsis fissidens
Bathyopsis middlestewarti
Genus Eobasileus
Eobasileus cornutus
Genus Prodinoceras
Prodinoceras martyr
Genus Tetheopsis
Tetheopsis ingens
Tetheopsis speirianus
Genus Uintatherium
Uintatherium anceps
Uintatherium insperatus

History

Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope were paleontologists who explored the western United States for fossils in the 1870s-1880s; their personal, vindictive rivalry led to the so-called "Bone war". In 1872 both explored the area of ​​Fort Bridger, Wyoming and presented at the end of 1872 reports on four different species: Dinoceras mirabilis, Dinoceras lacustris, Tinoceras anceps and Tinoceras grandis. For its part, Cope made public his discovery of Loxolophodon cornutus, which he later renamed Eobasileus cornutus.

During 1873, a third paleontologist, Joseph Leidy was able to examine and report on Eobasileus, Dinoceras and Tinoceras. While he came to the conclusion that Eobasileus was a genus that was close but distinct from Uintaterium, he also discovered that both Marsh's Dinoceras and his own Uintamastix were actually specimens of uintathere. He also suspected that Tinoceras was the same animal, but he could not determine it with certainty. Later it was revealed that most species of dinoceres described by Marsh actually belonged to the genus Uintatherium[1]. It was Libby who gave the animals their name, after the Uinta Mountains where the first specimens were found.

Evolutionary claims

Mainstream science claims uintatheres existed during the Miocene epoch, some 45-40 million years ago. A claim for ancestry has been made with Coryphodon (a species of pantodont) based upon superficial similarity between molar teeth. However, the author of the report in question[2] admitted that the connection was "difficult to understand", even when the report included a drawing of both Coryphodon and Uintatherium molars matched with a completely hypothetical animal which served as a bridge between the two species.

As it stands, the evolution of uintatheres cannot be proven beyond the observation of the fossils found in the ground and the needs required of step one of the scientific method. Creation science holds that uintatheres and all other terrestrial animals were created by an act of God between 6,000-10,000 years ago according to Genesis 1.

References

  1. Jacobs, Scott; p 284
  2. http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/bitstream/handle/2246/1309//v2/dspace/ingest/pdfSource/bul/B048a18.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
  • Jacobs, Louis, Scott, Katherine Marie. Evolution of Tertiary Mammals of North America: Terrestrial Carnivores, Ungulates, and Ungulate-like Mammals; Cambridge University Press, 1998