Ceratogaulus - horned gopher conversion
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Horned gophers are rodents from the genus Ceratogaulus, a member of the extinct fossorial rodent family Mylagaulidae. Ceratogaulus is the only known rodent genus with horns, and is the smallest known horned mammal. Ceratogaulus lived from the late Miocene to the early Pleistocene era. The horned gopher had two horns as shown to the left; these were large (in comparison to body size), paired, and originated from the nose. Horned gophers are the smallest known mammals to ever have horns, and the only known species of horned rodents, and (aside from one fossil species of armadillo, Peltephilus), the only known fossorial horned mammals. They were native to what is now the Great Plains of North America, most concentrated in Nebraska. The role of the horns is subject to much speculation; possibilities include digging (although this has largely been ruled out by the horns' position and orientation; see below for a more detailed analysis), mating displays or combat, and defense from predators. Because the horns were not sexually dimorphic, their role in defense seems most likely. In most other respects, the animals resembled modern marmots. They were approximately 30 centimeters (0.98 ft) long, and had paddle-like forepaws with powerful claws adapted for digging. They also had small eyes, and probably had poor eyesight, similar to that of a mole. These features suggest that they were likely to be burrowing animals.