Indricotherium query

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Ben Waggoner

Jul 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/16/99
I have just received a query from the etymologist for
the American Heritage Dictionary. It seems they've added
"Indricotherium" to their database, and he has to find out
what the name means. "-therium" of course means "beast,"
but neither he nor I know what "Indrico-" means. Does anyone
know? Does anyone here have the citation for the first
published use of the name? That should have an etymological
section or at least some clues. Failing that, can anyone
give me pointers to people or sources who might know?

This humble invertebrate zoologist thanks y'all in advance.
If anyone needs to know the etymology of _Rafinesquina_
or something, let me know. . .


David Ramalho

Jul 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/17/99

Good morning Ben

Indricotherium is sometime refered to as Baluchitherium.
(Baluchitherium grangeri) = (Indricotherium transouralicum)
Baluchitherium = Beast of Baluchistan

It was first discovered in what is now Pakistan. Specifically
in the Bugti Hills of Baluchistan, around 1907 - 08.

Apparently the discoverer (Owen ? ) was rather tardy in giving a name
to the animal (Baluchitherium). Another person wrote a paper that
gave the beast the name Indricotherium. First come - first served.

Further the weights usually stated for this animal appear to
be on the high side. In 1993, Fortelius & Kappelman,
estimated an average weight of eleven Tons. With a maximum
mass of between fifteen and twenty Tons. This is well below
the thirty Tons that some references state.

David Ramalho


Jul 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/17/99
Although I have always loved the name Baluchitherium (one of those "growing up
on "Brontosaurus" type things), it is good to note that neither Baluchitherium
nor Indricotherium has priority, rather that goes to the older (and lamer, in
my opinion) name Paraceratherium. Not that that answers what "indrico" means,
of course.
-Christian Kammerer

"You get a lot of dirt with werewolves, you get a lot of clean with Tide"


Jul 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/18/99
>"You get a lot of dirt with werewolves, you get a lot of
>clean with Tide"

DAAH! I was just watching my tape of that MST3K episode last
night! Paleo newsgroup was the last place I'd expect to run
into a quote from it...

Oh well, lurk mode back on again, I guess...

Maniraptoran MiSTie on a Mission

Sent from RemarQ The Internet's Discussion Network
The fastest and easiest way to search and participate in Usenet - Free!

Rick Toomey

Jul 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/19/99
Hi Ben,

I have a patial answer for you; unfortunately, it may
not help much.

Indricotherium was erected by Borissiak in 1915. The
specific reference (as referenced in Lucas and Sobus, 1989) is

Borissiak, A.A. (1915) On indrikoterii (Indricotherium n.g.).
-Geol. Vestnik, 1(3): 131-134.

As Christian Kammerer [ (Jonkeria)] noted
Lucas and Sobus (1989) suggested that Indricotherium,
Baluchitherium (erected by Foster Cooper in 1913),
Aralotherium (erected by Borissiak in 1939), and
Dzungariotherium (erected by Chiu in 1973) are all
junior synonyms of Paraceratherium (erected by
Foster Cooper in 1911).

Unfortunately, in terms of your question, Lucas and Sobus
do not discuss the etymology of the various names.

Reference Cited
Luca, S.G. and Sobus, J.C. (1989) The systematics of
inricotheres, IN (D.R. Prothero and R.M. Schoch, eds.)
The Evolution of the Perissodactyls. Oxford: Oxford
University Press. p. 358-378.

Good luck in your search.

Rick Toomey
Illinois State Museum

P.S. I'm a big fan of Constantine Rafinesque.


Jul 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/20/99
Rick Toomey reports:

>Indricotherium was erected by Borissiak in 1915. The
>specific reference (as referenced in Lucas and Sobus, 1989) is
>Borissiak, A.A. (1915) On indrikoterii (Indricotherium n.g.).
> -Geol. Vestnik, 1(3): 131-134.
/ // / // / // / // /
My speculation is that this spelling "Indricotherium" was an error--a typo or
a transliteration error from Russian to English. It may have been intended to
read "Indicotherium" ("the beast of India"). In 1915 Pakistan was part of
India, wasn't it?

Ben Waggoner

Jul 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/20/99

Good guess, but incorrect, as it turns out. Mr. Fortson,
the etymologist who asked originally, got back to me with
the whole story, which I quote here:

>Dear Dr. Waggoner,
> Well, it appears that indricotherium gets its name from a fabulous Russian
>beast called the "indrik," considered the most powerful creature and the father
>of the animals. Makes sense considering how big the thing was.
> I thank you again for all your help.

And I pass along his thanks to all who contributed to this


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