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Woolly Rhinoceros Teeth

Woolly Rhinoceros Teeth

LIMITED AVAILABILITY: We only have a select number of these magnificent teeth but we do expect to acquire more soon. If we run out of stock, make sure to sign up for email notifications.

Above: The front of the Specimen Card.

The Woolly Rhinos of the Pleistocene were a sight to behold, with massive bodies covered in thick hair, humped shoulders to carry their heavy heads, and titanic horns which made them tower over the expansive steppe landscapes.

This specimen is a Woolly Rhinoceros Tooth recovered from Siberia. The estimated age is 20,000 years old.

Above: An example tooth on the included stand.

Due to the unique nature of this item, each tooth is priced and sold individually. They will include a small specimen card as well as an individual certificate of authenticity.

As pictured above, the teeth are mounted on a simple wooden stand but can be removed easily enough. The mounting point is a drill hole so if you'd like to make your own stands that should be very easy to do.

Above: Woolly Rhino Tooth in hand and a closeup of the top of another tooth. They are truly amazing to hold. The colors are rich and deep.

Please Note: Each tooth has been prepared by hand, and in some cases, there may be jaw bone fragments still attached to roots. This should be readily apparent in the pictures, but we thought it would be important to mention this detail. If the jaw fragments are present, do not try to remove them. They've been left in place to provide stability to the specimen. Along this line, it is also important to note that while the enamel of the tooth is shiny and tough, the roots can be fragile. For this reason, nearly all of the roots have been sealed with penetrative stabilizers.

More About the Woolly Rhinoceros

"Accounts strongly suggest that fossil rhino horns were indeed known to, and used by, the native inhabitants of northeastern Siberia." ~ Professor Mikael Fortelius

Coelodonta antiquitatis, the scientific name of the woolly rhino, emerged in Europe and Asia during the Pleistocene, where their long hair and heavy fat made them capable of surviving the permafrost climate. These animals were huge, comparable in size to the modern white rhino. They could reach up to 12 feet in length and six thousand pounds, making them a tank of a creature. Most impressive was their front horn, a massive keratin formation over 4 feet long.

Before the species was officially identified in the 1700s, people had found the horns and skulls of the woolly rhino for years. Without the context of the ice age and change in climate, they were thought to be the remains of long-forgotten mythical creatures. Some native groups in Siberia believed the horns to be claws of massive birds, while skulls found in Europe were thought to be the remains of dragons.

The first scientific analysis of the woolly rhino classified it as a close relative of modern rhinoceroses. While they are related, analysis of the woolly rhino’s tooth would reveal a distinction. The ancient species had natural internal cavities, unlike the modern rhinos. These distinctive cavities are still visible today in the specimen.

These teeth allowed the rhino to grind up plant matter. Although the horn may have been used for defensive or mating purposes, it’s also thought to have been used to push aside snow and dirt in search of roots and frozen grasses.

Direct evidence of human contact with the woolly rhino is rare to come by. There are, however, some examples of bone weapons and scavenging events. The rhinos also appear in many pieces of early cave art, particularly in the 30,000-year-old Chauvet cave paintings of France.

The woolly rhino’s extinction came at the end of the last ice age, 11,700 years ago. A number of theories have been put forward as to the exact cause of extinction, with the change in climate and human overhunting both as prominent sources of population loss. Whatever the case, mummified remains of the species can still be found today in permafrost, opening an amazing window into our distant past.

Further Reading

Rhinoceros Giants: The Paleobiology of Indricotheres, by Donald R. Prothero, Indiana University Press, 2013.

Fortelius, Mikael. “The Morphology and Paleobiological Significance of the Horns of Coelodonta Antiquitatis (Mammalia: Rhinocerotidae).” Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, vol. 3, no. 2, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Taylor & Francis, Ltd., 1983, pp. 125–35.


Above: The back of the Specimen Card.

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