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Moropus elatus is an extinct species within the family Chalicotheriidae (subfamily Schizotheriinae) and is endemic to North America. Chalicotheres were perissodactyls or odd- toed ungulates (Peterson 1907). These animals were relatives of horses, rhinoceroses and tapirs. M. elatus is found in early Miocene deposits in Nebraska and Colorado from the Harrisonian stage (~23-20.8 mya) (Marsh 1877). Chalicotheres were strange looking mammals, and looked much like a hybrid of horse and a ground sloth (Figure 1). Like rhinoceroses, they had three toes on their feet, but instead of hooves, they had claws (Peterson 1907). They had longer fore limbs than hind limbs and an elongated neck, much like that of a giraffe or an okapi (Peterson 1907). Moropus elatus was about the size of a horse. Studies on the Agate Springs Quarry specimens show two distinct clusters of individuals in two different body sizes. This indicates sexual dimorphism; males were probably larger than the females (Coombs 1975, 1983).


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