|Scientific name :||Indricotherium transouralicum|
|Time period :||Oligocene epoch|
|Primary diet :||Herbivore|
|In the programmes|
|Appearances :||Walking with Beasts (Land of Giants)|
|In the books|
Whenever the females gave birth to newborns, they were faced with danger with predators, like Hyaenodon, trying to get to their babies, the mothers desperately tried to keep their babies between their legs so they could defend them with powerful kicks. When indricotheres were newborns, they could already weigh a quarter of a ton and their legs wouldn't be used to bearing any weight at all, so they'd spend most of their time learning how to walk. New born calves would also have food on their minds. It was the beginning of the most vulnerable period in their lives. They'd be totally dependent on their mothers for at least three years. They needed their protection, and for the first year, they relied on their mother's milk. This is an astonishingly long commitment for any mother, but if their calves can just survive for that long, their size will mean that there will not be a predator on Earth that can touch them. It was the largest terrestrial mammal that ever existed, rivaling some of dinosaurs, in size.Indricotheres were distantly related to modern rhinos, and their closest relatives were primitive perissodactyl mammals like Hyracotherium (mentioned in the book version of Land of Giants), but their size put them into a different league from other plant-eating mammals. A fully–grown male Indricotherium stood over seven to eight meters tall and weighed in at 20 tons, females - 15 tons (which is equivalent to eight modern rhinos) and newborn calves - around 250 kg. They were among the biggest animals of their time since the Mesozoic sauropod dinosaurs. They were also among the largest mammalian land animal of all time. Despite their appearance, they weren't related to giraffes but to rhinoceroses. In a sense, they were rhinos trying to be giraffes. When it came to mating, males often get into fights and their skulls were specially built to withstand these contests. But when the fights were over, calves were at serious risk–the biggest threat to an Indricotherium calf was an adult male. During mating, calves could be trampled to death.
If Indricotherium calves survived to become three years old, their mothers would behave awkwardly towards them, but she would be doing only what she had to: she'd chase their previous calf away so that she had no problem to give their next (unborn) calf the best chance to survive in life; so the females would sever the three–year–old bond they've had with their previous calves. For those calves, it was time to make their own way in the world. This was the hardest lesson of all. The calf would never again have the protection of its mother. The rest of its life would be spent alone.
Although no matter how young or old they were, indricotheres were so huge that they could go without food or water for days and it protected them from predators too. By the time Indricotheres were 4 years old, they could be big enough to defend and look after themselves. Indricotheres could also have easily lived into their eighties, and this longevity gave them a unique knowledge of their environment.
In the seriesEditHyaenodon appeared from out of the darkness and attacked the mother. The mother kept the calf between her legs in order to protect him. The fight continued throughout the rest of the night.
It is revealed that the calf and the mother did survive the attack. The calf began taking his very first steps and had his first drink. Later, the mother Indricotherium is seen drinking from a lake but is put off by a pair of Entelodonts dueling. Whilst his mother was gone, the calf was playing dead to avoid detection by predators. The calf was startled by something but it turned out that it was startled by its mother. Later, the mother and calf journeyed out of the canyon and into the open plains with other Indricotheriums.
The mother and calf were traveling beside a river until the calf encountered a mother Bear-dog protecting her young. She frightened off the inquisitive youngster. Later, they found a pile of Indricotherium dung. Copying what his mother was doing, the calf smelled it. Moments later the mother's previous calf which was now 3 years old approached the pair but the mother repelled it in order to protect her current calf. Afterwards, the mother began feeding on the trees nearby. The calf was trying to imitate her but he was too short to reach even the lowest branch. He then resorted to his mother's milk.3 months later, the calf was trying to drink his mother's milk however, the mother rejected him. During the night, the pair joined an older female in search of water and food. They eventually found a small, muddy lake. They then fell asleep. In the morning, the calf woke up his mother. The mother responded and rewarded him with milk.
During the wet season the pair had to cross a river. The mother Indricotherium did it with ease but the calf found it a little bit harder. However, the hardest part in fact was getting up a muddy bank. After several failed attempts of climbing the bank, the calf succeeded.
The calf became 3 years old and was seen stretching using a branch. He then attempted to suckle but his mother rejected him, forcing him to eat plants. The next day, the calf was chased away by his mother so that she could protect her future calf.The calf wasn't seen for days but when he was seen, he was limping and had a leg injury - probably caused by a young adult male Indricotherium. He retreated to his mother who now had a new calf to nurture. When he approached his mother, she aggressively chased him away. The calf was seen 3 months later in his old territory feeding on tree branches. However he was dangerously close to an Entelodont. The calf aggressively approached the animal and scared it off. The Indricotherium then charged towards the screen and knocked over the camera, possibly killing the cameraman if he ever existed.
- These animals were the inspiration for the AT-AT walkers in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back.
- Indricotherium should now be known as Paraceratherium since the name Paraceratherium was the first name given to the animal.