Mammals of Eurasia

Reconstruction of 'Elasmotherium sibiricum' from Middle-Late Pleistocene of Asia and Europe 'Megaloceros giganteus,' reconstruction by Pavel Riha. 'Stegodon,' photo of fiberglass life-size models (tusks measuring 18 feet) by Vjdchauhan. 'Bos primigenius' reconstruction, by Jochen Ackermann, showing distinctive horns, hump, dark coat, and a white eel stripe running down the spine. Black and white illustration of a five-month-old Tarpan foal 'Equus ferus ferus' by Borisov, 1841. 'Panthera tigris virgata', a colour-enhanced photo of a captive tiger in the Berlin Zoo, 1899 Illustration of the baiji, 'Lipotes vexillifer,' a pale blue dolphin with small eyes, gray on the back, white on the belly, a long beak, and a low dorsal fin 'Lutra nippon,' having a long body and light-brown fur Pyrenean ibex 'Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica,' the male with large curved horns, a brown back, tan sides, and black legs, forhead, and mane; the female brown with smaller straighter horns; illustration from the book 'Wild oxen, sheep & goats of all lands, living and extinct' (1898) by Richard Lydekker. From a sketch by Joseph Wolf.


There were four species of this hairy rhinoceros including the Siberian unicorn. All were herbivorous, big as mammoths, thick horns on their foreheads, and long legs adapted for galloping like a horse, A Paleolithic artist drew one of them on a wall of the Rouffignac Cave.

Irish elk

Irish elk, giant deer, Irish deer, Megaloceros giganteus, lived from Ireland to Siberia but died out seventy-seven hundred years ago. It turns out not to have been an Eurasian elk or moose, but an early example of species extinction and of the disputed theory of orthogenesis. Paleolithic artists drew them on walls of a Cougnac Cave twenty thousand years ago.


Scientists used to think stegodons were ancestors of elephants and mammoths because they look like elephants but with longer tusks. Their molars had distinct roof-shaped ridges. Today they are thought to be a sister group and to have no modern descendants.


The original wild cattle formed small herds across the Old World from Iberia to Korea from which people bred domestic cattle. The Cro Magnons painted aurochs in Lascaux and Chauvet. By the end of the Pleistocene they were hunted to extinction.


The Eurasian wild horse, the tarpan, ancestor of domestic horses, we think, was a mouse dun, having grullo coloration— a smoky gray body, and a darker mane, tail, and legs— and primitive markings— stripes on the shoulders, legs, and spine. This was a small horse with a short tail and a short falling mane. People hunted them for meat and took over their ranges then killed them and drove them away.

Caspian tiger

A large tiger related to the Siberian tiger, males weighed up to 530 pounds. They preyed on deer, wild pigs, fish, jackals, sheep, wapiti, moose. People hunted them to extinction to protect livestock, for their furs, and for sport.


The baiji was also called Goddess of the Yangtze, the Yangtze river dolphin, and whitefin or white-flag dolphin for its dorsal fin could be seen like a triangular flag when it swam under the surface navigating mainly by sonar in the murky Yangtze River. * The first baiji was the reincarnation of a beautiful girl whose greedy stepfather took her in a boat to sell her. When he tried to rape her, she plunged into the river to become a symbol of peace and prosperity. * Industrialization and building dams along the Yangtze reduced the baiji population until now no more can be found. * Its scientific name, Lipotes vexillifer, means “left-behind flag-bearer.”

Japanese river otter

The adult Japanese river otter was 52 inches long from nose to top of tail. It was nearly decimated by hunters for the export trade in furs as well as suffering from habitat loss. In the 1990s people desperately tried to find evidence of their survival, searching rivers and coastal areas; however, if they’ve survived they remain so rare as to be chimeras.

Pyrenean ibex

This wild goat, Iberian ibex, bucardo, herc, bouquetin, commanded rocky terrain in the Cantabrian Mountains, southern France, and northern Pyrenees, and was hunted continuously and forced to compete with sheep, domestic goats, cattle, and horses, becoming extinct in January 2000. * An attempt to restore the species by cloning from the last natural Pyrenean ibex, Celia, failed. * We take our sport when we take the life of a beast who is more powerful and noble than we.