The Perissodactyla may be divided into the four following sections, namely the extinct Titanotheroidea, the Hippoidea, represented by the horse tribe and their ancestors, the Tapiroidea, typified by the tapirs, and the Rhinocerotoidea, which includes the modern rhinoceroses and their forerunners.
Rhinoceros Group. - The last section of the Perissodactyla is that of the Rhinocerotoidea, represented by the modern rhinoceroses and their extinct allies.
In North America rhinoceroses became extinct before the close of the Pliocene period; but in the Old World, although their geographical distribution has become greatly restricted, at least five well-marked species survive.
Hornless rhinoceroses, with five fronttoes, ranging from the Oligocene to the Lower Pliocene in Europe, represent the genus Aceratherium, which may also occur in America, as it certainly does in India.
With the short-skulled, short-footed, three-toed and generally horned rhinoceroses ranging in Europe and America from the Lower Miocene to the Lower Pliocene, typified by the European R.
Osborn, "Phylogeny of the Rhinoceroses of Europe," op. cit.
Rhinoceroses are of large size and massive build, but have little intelligence, and are generally timid in disposition, though ferocious when wounded or brought to bay.
The African species use the nasal horns as weapons, with which they strike and toss their assailant, but the Asiatic rhinoceroses employ their sharp lower tusks much as does a boar.
Rhinoceroses are dull of sight, but their hearing and scent are remarkably acute.
Living rhinoceroses may be arranged in three groups: (1) With a single nasal horn, and very thick skin, which is raised into strong, definitely arranged ridges or folds.
To the third group or genus (Diceros) belong the two African rhinoceroses, which have two horns, the skin without definite folds, and no lower tusks.
Among notable mammals the chimpanzee is found in Unyoro, Toro and north-west Ankole, and has only recently become extinct in Buganda; the okapi inhabits the Semliki forests on the Congo frontier; the giraffe (the male sometimes developing five horn cores) is common in the Northern, Eastern and Rudolf provinces; there are three types of buffalo - the Cape, the Congo and the Abyssinian; two species of zebra (one of them Grevy's), the African wild ass, the square-lipped (" white ") and pointed-lipped (" black ") rhinoceroses, the elephant, hippopotamus, water tragelaph (" Speke's antelope "), Cape ant-bear, aard-wolf (Proteles), hunting-dog, and nearly every genus and most of the species of African antelopes.
Tapirs appear, however, to have become extinct in Europe before the Pleistocene period, as none of their bones or teeth have been found in any of the caves or alluvial deposits in which those of elephants, rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses occur in abundance; but in other regions their distribution at this age was far wider than at present, as they are known to have extended eastward to China (T.
In the lowlands, tigers, rhinoceroses, deer and wild hogs are abundant.
The ancient Greeks and Romans kept in captivity large numbers of such animals as leopards, lions, bears, elephants, antelopes, giraffes, camels, rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses, as well as ostriches and crocodiles, but these were destined for slaughter at the gladiatorial shows.
The large Carnivora, lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards are the first favourites; then follow monkeys, then the large ungulates, elephants, rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses, camels and giraffes, deer and antelopes and equine animals, whilst birds are appreciated chiefly for plumage and song.
Among extinct Tertiary mammals we can actually trace the giving off of these radii in all directions, for taking advantage of every possibility to secure food, to escape enemies and to reproduce kind; further, among such well-known quadrupeds as the horses, rhinoceroses and titanotheres, the modifications involved in these radiations can be clearly traced.
This principle has been demonstrated recently among Tertiary rhinoceroses and titanotheres, in which remains of four or five genetic series in the same geologic deposits have been discovered.
Among land animals striking illustrations of this local polyphyletic law are found in the existence of seven or eight contemporary series of rhinoceroses, five or six contemporary series of horses, and an equally numerous contemporary series of American Miocene and Pliocene camels; in short, the polyphyletic condition is the rule rather than the exception.
It is displayed to-day among the antelopes and to a limited degree among the zebras and rhinoceroses of Africa, a continent which exhibits a survival of the Miocene and Pliocene conditions of the northern hemisphere.
Such diverse organisms as brachiopods, ammonites, horses and rhinoceroses absolutely conform to this law in all those rare localities where we have been able to observe closely sequent stages.
The more typical members of the genus are terrestrial in their habits, and their cheek-teeth have nearly the same pattern as in rhinoceroses; while the interval between the upper incisors is less than the width of the teeth; and the lower incisors are only slightly notched at the cutting edge.