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LAND OF GIANTS

Towards the end of the Oligocene epoch some 25 million years ago, the world had recovered from the climatic turmoil that had marked the end of the Eocene epoch. The world was a different place now, with different animals, different habitats and different climates. It was still warm, but it had become a lot drier with plains of scrubland with scattered deciduous trees taking over from the sub-tropical rainforests. Seasons were more distinct, with long dry periods followed by shorter wet periods. This had shaped the environment as well as the animals. During this period the largest ever terrestrial mammals roamed the plains of Mongolia at the eastern shores of the Tethys Ocean between Africa and Eurasia. But they were not the only animals that had become large. There were mean scavengers as large as rhinos that shared the environment with the herbivorous giants. (16)