The Rhinocerotidae arose during the Eocene, likely from tapir-like ancestors. Rapidly colonizing Eurasia and North America, and then invading Africa during the Miocene, rhinos became a highly successful group: at least 30 genera are known in the fossil record. Modern rhinoceroses are restricted to tropical and subtropical climates, but several cold-adapted species once existed, including the woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta) from the Pleistocene. Today, rhinos are found in eastern and southern Africa and to southeast Asia. African rhinoceroses tend to inhabit more open terrain than the forest-dwelling Asian species.
The skin is tough and thick, falling into plate-like folds; in most species it is bare or sparsely haired, but the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) has long hair on the back and sides. The nasal bones of the skull are expanded forward to support the (anterior) horn. The posterior horn (when present) is on the frontal bones. The dental formula is I 0-1/0-2, C 0/0-1, P 3-4/3-4, M 3/3 x 2 = 24-36.
(From Tougard et al., 2001)
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