Extinct Woolly Rhino

(Coelodonta antiquitatis)

The Woolly Rhino first appeared some 350,000 years ago and may have survived until as recently as 10,000 years ago. Their fossils are fairly common and have been discovered throughout Europe and Asia. Well-preserved remains have been discovered frozen in ice and buried in oil-saturated soils. In Ukraine, a complete carcass of a female Woolly Rhino was discovered buried in the mud. The combination of oil and salt prevented the remains from decomposing, allowing the soft tissues to remain intact.

  • A herbivore who grazed on grass, shrubby sprouts, forbs (small herbaceous plants), lichens and mosses. Woolly Rhinos had a broad front lip.
  • The horns of Coelodonta antiquitatis fossils show abrasion marks that were presumably caused by to and fro motion of the head as it pushed the snow away while searching for grass.
  • The Woolly Rhino lived just as their recent relatives do, alone or in very small family groups.
  • Coelodonta antiquitatis were hunted by early humans and they were depicted on the walls of caves in France 30,000 years ago.
  • The Sumatran rhino, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, is the last representative of the Woolly Rhino family.
Current Extinct Woolly Rhino Numbers and Distribution

Once common throughout Northern Europe and Eastern Asia (especially in what is now Russia). Coelodonta antiquitatis' range extended from South Korea to Scotland to Spain. In the latter part of the Pleistocene Period, the Woolly Rhino may have had the largest range of any known rhinoceros, living or extinct. The Woolly Rhinos frequently inhabited the same areas as Woolly Mammoths, however they apparently never managed to move across the Bering Strait (Bering Land Bridge) and extend their range into North America.

Common Names

Woolly Rhino: This rhino's entire body was covered with a thick, shaggy coat consisting of two types of hair, a thin dense undercoat and a long rigid covering hair.

Scientific Name and Origin

Coelodonta antiquitatis

Coelodonta: from the Greek 'hallow teeth' antiquitatis: from the Latin "antiquus" meaning "old"

Physical Characteristics


  • Weight: 2 to 3 tons
  • Height: 6 ft (2m) tall at shoulder
  • Length: 10- 12.5 ft (3.0-3.8m) length of head and body


It had two horns. The front, larger horn measured up to 3 ft (1m) and had a flattened shape.

Other Features

Cave paintings suggest they may have had a band of darker fur around their midsections.