7 Largest Land Mammals in the World

In fact, the blue whale is the largest animal that ever lived, but it lives in the sea and was not included on this list

Most of the land mammals on this list are extinct, but some of them are still alive today

Extinct land mammals have extant descendants that are quite large, but do not come close to their ancestors

Habitat: South America

Time period lived: Early Pliocene to the end of the Pleistocene (5 million to 8,000 years ago)

Scientific name: several species, but the best known is Megatherium americanum

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Ballista

Unlike its modern counterparts, which only weigh about 5 kilograms (11 lb), Megatherium weighed between 3 and 4 metric tons (6,61387 to 8,81849 lb)

When Megatherium stood on its hind legs, it was 35 meters (12 ft) tall

There were several species of Megatherium, but the species we have the most information about is Megatherium americanum, which lived in South America, mainly in what is now Argentina, Uruguay, and Bolivia

Our ancestors may have eaten Megatherium as scientists have discovered fossils with cut marks, which were likely made by human tools and weapons

Lived time period: Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene (26 million to 39,000 years ago)

Scientific name: Elasmotherium sibiricum

Source: Wikimedia Commons via DiBgd

Elasmotherium sibiricum is an extinct species of horned rhinoceros that is known as the “Giant Siberian Unicorn” due to its prominent horn

Elasmotherium sibiricum was nearly as large as a woolly mammoth, estimated to have weighed up to 45 metric tons (9,9208 lb)

Also like the woolly mammoth, Elasmotherium sibiricum was covered in long hair

For many years, scientists believed that Elasmotherium sibiricum was extinct between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago, but a skull discovered in 2016 dates to just 29,000 years ago

This means that Elasmotherium sibiricum was alive during the same time as Neanderthals and early modern humans

Elasmotherium sibiricum was one of 250 rhino species alive at the time

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Vpad236

Asian elephants are the closest living relatives to the woolly mammoth, but they are not nearly as large

However, Asian elephants remain some of the world’s largest extant mammals and can weigh between 225 and 55 metric tons (4,9604 and 12,1254 lb)

On average, Asian elephants are 6 to 12 feet (18 to 38 meters) tall at the shoulder

Asian elephants are fairly easy to tame and have been used by humans for thousands of years

People use Asian elephants to move heavy objects, transport humans and cargo, and even to wage war

Unlike African elephants, Asian elephants tend to have smaller tusks, which are called tusks

Only some male Asian elephants develop large, prominent tusks like their African counterparts

African bush elephant

Habitat: Sub-Saharan Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola)

Time Period Lived: Present

Time Period Lived: Present

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Gorgo

The African bush elephant is currently the world’s largest living land mammal and is the larger of the two species of African elephant

African bush elephants weigh between 4 and 7 metric tons (8,8185 and 15,4324 lb)

Male African elephants can reach up to 35 meters (115 feet) in height, while females can reach 3 meters (98 feet)

African bush elephants live in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Angola

To go along with their large bodies, African Bush Elephants have huge tusks that are 25 meters (82 feet) long and weigh between 50 and 100 pounds (227 to 4536 kilograms)

woolly mammoth

Habitat: northern Asia, many parts of Europe, and northern part of North America

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Flying Puffin

The famous woolly mammoth was the smallest of all known mammoths, but it was still a huge animal

Woolly mammoths weighed up to 6 metric tons (13,2277 lb) and stood 4 meters (13 ft) tall

In the past, woolly mammoths were plentiful and roamed the Earth from northern Asia to northern North America

Although woolly mammoths lived a long time ago, they only went extinct about 4,000 years ago

In recent years, the scientific community has revealed that they may be able to resurrect the woolly mammoth from extinction

Woolly mammoth hair could reach a length of 1 meter (3 feet)

steppe mammoth

Period of time lived: Pleistocene (600,000 – 370,000 years ago)

Period of time lived: Pleistocene (600,000 – 370,000 years ago)

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Altes

The steppe mammoth was the largest known mammoth species, weighing between 9 and 143 metric tons (19,8416 and 31,526 lb)

The steppe mammoth is the predecessor of the more famous woolly mammoth and lived in the cold parts of ancient Eurasia

The steppe mammoth was not only very heavy, it was also tall, standing between 4 and 45 meters (131 to 148 ft) tall

In 2015, scientists discovered a nearly complete steppe mammoth skeleton in Russia

The steppe mammoth is estimated to be over 100,000 years old and was a male that died at approximately 45 years of age

The steppe mammoth’s tusks were 25 meters (82 feet) long, and a pair discovered in 2015 weighed a total of 150 kilograms (33069 pounds)

Habitat: Eurasian plains

Period of time lived: Oligocene (35 – 20 million years ago)

Scientific name: Paraceratherium transouralicum

Source: Wikimedia Commons via ABelov2014

Indricotherium or Paraceratherium is an extinct species of hornless rhinoceros that is believed to be the largest land mammal that ever lived

Living on the Eurasian plains between 20 and 35 million years ago, Indricotherium is estimated to have weighed between 15 and 20 metric tons (33,000 to 44,000 pounds)

In addition to being quite heavy, Indricotherium was also tall, measuring about 40 feet (122 meters) long

Unlike modern rhinos, Indricotherium had a relatively long neck and slender legs

When Indricotherium fossils were first discovered, paleontologists believed it to be much larger, up to 60,000 pounds (272 metric tons)

However, scientists largely agree that Indricotherium could not have weighed more than 44,000 pounds (20 metric tons)

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