Definition of chalicothere in English:



  • A large horse-like fossil mammal of the late Tertiary period, with stout claws on the toes rather than hoofs.

    Family Chalicotheriidae, order Perissodactyla: several genera

    • ‘The species depicted here is one of the rare knuckle walking chalicotheres.’
    • ‘North America was home to three-toed horses, several types of rhinoceroses, and horse-like chalicothere herbivores, with bear-dogs and saber-toothed cats among the carnivores, and the pig-like entelodonts as successful omnivores.’
    • ‘Much of my work has emphasized chalicotheres, an unusual group of clawed perissodactyls.’
    • ‘It was well worth the detour, as they have a very nice museum with impressive mounted skeletons of an entelodont, a towering chalicothere, and some smaller denizens of the Miocene savannah.’
    • ‘Two other perissodactyl families are extinct in the Old World: tapir-like paleotheres and chalicotheres, largish horse-like animals with claws instead of hooves.’
    • ‘No mammal of today has a comparable anatomy of the limbs, but several extinct groups like the Eocene to Pleistocene chalicotheres show similar adaptations.’
    • ‘Anteaters tend to have strong claws for digging out hard ants’ nests, but the chalicotheres do not have the adaptations of anteaters either - such as having a long thin snout.’
    • ‘In Eurasia the fauna included early deer and giraffes, the giant indricatheres and chalicotheres that were quite different from the American types.’
    • ‘Among these are the best specimen of the dome-skulled chalicothere Tylocephalonyx skinneri, and type specimens of several other mammals, including rodents, oreodonts and carnivores.’
    • ‘But I like the chalicothere analogy better - that therizinosaurids used their claws to hook branches down to within reach of the mouth.’
    • ‘Another good reason to pick the chalicothere is that they were alive until at least the end of the Pleistocene and there could have been a remnant population hidden in a deep pocket somewhere.’
    • ‘Other finds at the Agate Fossil Beds include the remains of the chalicothere Moropus, the camel Stenomylus, the prehistoric beaver Paleocastor, and the bear-dog Daphoenodon.’
    • ‘Hyoummnin was a provolved and augmented chalicothere, with five-fingered hands instead of claws on the front limbs.’
    • ‘Prior to their extinction barely 12,000 years ago the chalicotheres had been relatively unchanged for the previous 25 million years.’
    • ‘All the fascinating stories about the bones of dinosaurs, chalicotheres, dinotheres, mastodons, giant giraffes, and mammoths are gathered in my book.’
    • ‘My major interest is the chalicotheres, a group of extinct clawed herbivorous perissodactyls.’
    • ‘To cite a familiar instance, the teeth of the chalicotheres have a general adaptive resemblance to the titanotheres, the skull and neck to the horses, the claws to the edentates.’
    • ‘‘To learn about these mammals - from arsinoitheres, brontotheres, chalicotheres, dugongs, and elephants to yaks and zebras - this is the place to turn.’’
    • ‘A further two groups are known only from the fossil record; these are the chalicotheres and titanotheres.’
    • ‘It belonged to an ancient herbivore group called the chalicotheres.’


Early 20th century: from modern Latin Chalicotherium (genus name), from Greek khalix, khalik- ‘gravel’ + thērion ‘wild animal’.