The Plio-Pleistocene fossil rhinoceroses of Eurasia are relatively well known, although their taxonomy and phylogeny are still debated. The fossil rhinoceros material collected at the Bethlehem site during the first half of the 20th century is revised and re-described. Based on morphological comparison of the Bethlehem material with the latest Miocene, Pliocene and Early Pleistocene Eurasian and African species, the specimens are assigned as Rhinocerotini indet., Dihoplus sp. and 'Dihoplus' bethlehemsis sp. nov. The comparison revealed that the studied material displays more features in common with the genus Dihoplus than with the genus Stephanorhinus. Tooth microwear analysis revealed that the diet of Bethlehem rhinoceros was probably composed of leaves of trees, bushes, or part of dicots. The new species could be one of the latest representatives of the Miocene genus Dihoplus that survived in Eurasia until the end of the Pliocene. Thus again the site of Bethlehem being unique in its biogeographically setting, provides novel understanding of the ‘Levantine Corridor’ dispersal route.
- Near East
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth-Surface Processes