Where did the brontotheres go?

I’ll start off this series by talking about some fossils that were plentiful at my recent visit to the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology.

Brontotheres were a group of mammals that scientists think were part of the same evolutionary lineage as horses, rhinos and tapirs. Based on geological dating, they appear in the fossil record approximately 56 million years ago. Plenty of their fossils have been discovered in North America, as well as Asia and Eastern Europe.

Brontotherium_hatcheri

Megacerops hatcheri

The earliest species were small and hornless, but later species had large body sizes and horns. Though they superficially resemble rhinos, they differ in that their horns are made of bone, while rhino horns are composed of keratin. Additionally, rhino horns are aligned in the middle of the skull, whereas brontotheres horns are oriented laterally.

Embolotherium_andrewsi

Embolotherium andrewsi

The brontotheres appear to have gone extinct approximately 34 million years ago, also known as the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. This period was marked by major climatic change, particularly global cooling, which led to widespread grasslands. It’s possible that brontotheres could not adapt quickly enough to this vegetation type, and this drove them to extinction.

Questions for Creationists

What happened to the brontotheres? Did Noah not let them on his ark? Did man hunt them to extinction? Are they still in some undiscovered hiding place?

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