Artistic illustration of a rhino and turtles in their natural environment 8 million years ago. (Julius Csotonyi/ Yukon Government)

Rhinos and turtles once roamed Yukon lands


The Yukon, a territory located in northwestern Canada, was once home to ancient rhinos and turtles, a recent analysis of fossils discovered in 1973 shows.

8 to 9 million years ago, these rhinos were about two metres high and three metres long. They were certainly among the largest animals living in North America at the time.

The presence of these animals could be explained by a warmer climate, explains Yukon government paleontologist Grant Zazula.

It was probably much more like parts of southern United States, where there are swamps that do not freeze all year round.Grant Zazula, paleontologist

Paleontologist Grant Zazula shows the fossilized enamel of rhino teeth. (Chris Windeyer/ CBC-Radio-Canada)

“It must have been quite special, since it was really darker during the winter, which would be a very interesting situation for these animals,” says Grant Zazula.

The fossils were discovered by Joan Hodgins, a 22-year-old teacher at the time who was hiking with her students.

What is interesting with this discovery is that it is the first time paleontologists find evidence of the presence of ancient mammals, such as rhinos, before the Ice Age.

During the Tertiary Period, which began after the extinction of the dinosaurs and ended about 2.6 million years ago, a land bridge connected what is now Siberia and Alaska.

Paleontologists believe that animals of all kinds, including mammoths and rhinos, used to cross this bridge.

Shells similar to those of some Galapagos turtle species have also been correctly identified.

These findings were published in the journal American Museum Novitates.

RCI with Radio-Canada

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5 comments on “Rhinos and turtles once roamed Yukon lands
  1. Avatar Herry says:

    Both these types of animals, are about to disappear again, thanks to china, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.. You know, stupid!

  2. Avatar Durward says:

    There was never an ice-age, we don’t live on a globe and with the preponderance of fraud in the field of paleontology I’ll take this with a grain of salt.

  3. Avatar HERMANN says:

    This is a very informative article.
    I did not know that

  4. Avatar Sang Riel says:

    Hey All You Gretas , It must have been pretty warm up there. I wonder why we still have the descendants of those animals today ? Hmmmmmm.

  5. Avatar John Bontius says:

    this proves our climate change is nothing special but has been a recurring event since the creation of the Earth