Named By: R. A. Stirton - 1932.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Artiodactyla, Protoceratidae.
Species: S. davisorum (type), S. tricornatus.
Size: Roughly about 1.1 meters tall at the shoulder.
Known locations: Mexico - Suchilquitongo Formation. USA, Alabama - Citronelle Formation, Florida - Alachua Formation, Nebraska - Valentine Formation, Texas - Goliad Formation.
Time period: Miocene.
Fossil representation: Partial remains of multiple individuals.
is one of the better known members of the Protoceratidae, and this is
thanks to the head ornamentation of the males of this genus. Rising
above the eyes and ears was a pair of horns that curved upwards forming
a crescent shape when viewed from the front. Then things get a little
different with a single much longer horn rising up from the front of
the snout. As this horn rises it splits again to form a V shape
towards the top. Seemingly this horn was only present upon males,
and was almost certainly a display feature not just serving for
species recognition but for impressing female Synthetoceras.
may have also been a way for rival males to determine who was
stronger, and when that failed, perhaps even become a weapon when
disputes turned violent.
Like similar members of the Protoceratidae, Synthetoceras would have been a fairly nimble footed herbivore, relying upon staying alert and quick reflexes to remove itself from danger. Possible predatory threats to Synthetoceras could include certain false sabre toothed cats as well as bear dogs, though such predators would have needed to get in close for a successful ambush.
- A New Genus of Artiodactyla From the Clarendon Lower Pliocene of Texas. University of California Publications. - Bulletin of the Department of Geological Sciences 21(6):147-168. - R. A. Stirton - 1932.
- Late Miocene mammals from the Mauvilla Local Fauna, Alabama. - Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History 46(1):1-28. - R. C. Hulbert & F. C. Whitmore - 2006.