12 aug. 2020
The genus of Hippopotamus is still extant in a single species, the modern Hippopotamus. Many extinct species of the genus once lived in Africa, but was also widespread in (mainly) Europe and Western Asia. Some were huge in size, reaching 4.3 meters in length and others dwarfed on small islands in Southern Europe. Most of the species resemble the modern-day Hippopotamus and were mainly bound to aquatic biomes and fed on aquatic vegetation.
Eurasia & Africa
Pliocene to Holocene
Hippopotamus antiquus, also called the European Hippopotamus, lived during the Pleistocene epoch of Western, Central and Southern Europe. It was larger than its extant relative and could grow up to 3.8 meters in length. It resembled the modern-day Hippopotamus, but researchers found a difference in feeding behaviour by isotopic analysis: it probably fed solely on aquatic vegetation instead of both aquatic and non-aquatic. It is believed that the modern day Hippopotamus migrated to Europe and competed on food and water resources with the European Hippopotamus during the middle Pleistocene.
Madurell-Malapeira, J. (2012). The Late Villafranchian Hippopotamus antiquus: paleoe-cology and paleobiological inferences. QuInt, 279, 298.