New paper out today in Biology Letters led by Chris Basu and with John Hutchinson, both from the Royal Vet College.
Sivatherium is an extinct Giraffid from the Plio-Pleistocene boundary (~2.5 million years ago), found near the foothills of what is today (and indeed basically was then…) the Himalayas. It’s an interesting beasty that has seen relatively little attention in the literature since it’s discovery in 1836 (though it seems to be garnering a little more attention these days).
Historically, it has been referred to as being as heavy as an African elephant. We used photogrammetry to digitize the remains held in the Natural History Museum, London, and then used convex hulling to get bounds for minimum and maximum masses (I went through the process on an actual elephant skeleton in this post).
It turns out this animal was a fair bit smaller than an African elephant, coming in at give or take 1200 kg. That still makes it likely the largest ruminant we know of however!
The lead author, Chris Basu, made a stunning image for the paper in Maya, and that’s been accepted as the cover image in Biology Letters this month:
[Edit]: The paper is fully open access, and available here: http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/12/1/20150940
Basu, C. Falkingham, P.L., and Hutchinson, J.R. 2016. The extinct, giant giraffid Sivatherium giganteum: skeletal reconstruction and body mass estimation. Biology Letters 12(1):20150940;