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Extinct Woolly Rhino

The Woolly Rhino, (Coelodonta antiquitatis) first appeared some 350,000 years ago and may have survived until as recently as 10,000 years ago. Their fossils are not uncommon and have been discovered throughout Europe and Asia, although apparently they did not manage to extend their distribution into North America or to Ireland. Well-preserved remains have been discovered frozen in ice and buried in oil-saturated soils. At Staruni in what is now the Ukraine, a complete carcass of a female Woolly Rhino was discovered buried in the mud. The combination of oil and salt prevented the remains from decomposing allowing the soft tissues to remain intact.

Woolly Rhino Distribution
Common throughout Northern Europe and Eastern Asia (especially in what is now Russia). Coelodonta antiquitatis' range extended from South Korea to Scotland to Spain. In the latter part of the Pleistocene Period, the Woolly Rhino may have had the largest range of any known rhinoceros, living or extinct.


The Woolly Rhinos frequently inhabited the same areas as Woolly Mammoths, however they apparently never managed to move across the Bering Strait (Bering Land Bridge) and extend their range into North America.



  • A herbivore who grazed on grass, shrubby sprouts, forbs (small herbaceous plants), lichens and mosses. Woolly Rhinos had a broad front lip.
  • The horns of Coelodonta antiquitatis fossils show abrasion marks that were presumably caused by to and fro motion of the head as it pushed the snow away while searching for grass.
  • The Woolly Rhino lived just as their recent relatives do, alone or in very small family groups.
  • Coelodonta antiquitatis were hunted by early humans and they were depicted on the walls of caves in France 30,000 years ago.
  • The Sumatran rhino, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, is the last representative of the Woolly Rhino family.  
International Rhino Foundation

Common Names

  • Woolly Rhino: This rhinos entire body was covered with a thick and shaggy coat consisting of two types of hair, a thin dense undercoat and a long rigid covering hair.

Scientific Name and Origin
Coelodonta antiquitatis 

Coelodonta: from the Greek 'hallow teeth' 
antiquitatis: from the Latin "antiquus" meaning "old"

Physical Characteristics

Weight: 2 to 3 tons 
Height: 6 ft (2m) tall at shoulder 
Length: 10- 12.5 ft (3.0-3.8m) length of head and body


There are two horns. The front, larger (anterior) measured up to 3 ft (1m) and has a flattened shape from side to side, like a wooden plank.


Other Features: Cave paintings suggest they may have had a band of darker fur around their middles.