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Rajaphant

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Rajaphant

The rajaphant herds have evolved defensive habits and take great care to protect their vulnerable young against the predators. The adults cluster round and lash out at the swooping hunters with their long necks and teeth, and their heavy whip-like tails.

The Rajaphant, Gregisaurus titanops, is a socially-sophisticated titanosaurid from the savanna plains of the Indian Subcontinent, in The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution. It is descended from Titanosaurus.

During the Neogene a large triangular piece of ancient Gondwana, called the Indian Subcontinent, over 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) long and 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) broad, moved northeastwards across the Tethys ocean and fused with the northern Asian continent. It threw up the greatest mountain range on Earth, the Himalayas, along the join. The Gondwana animal life continued on this new triangular peninsula with little change, isolated from the northern Asian continent by the Himalayan mountain range.

The largest animal now on the Indian Subcontinent is the rajaphant, evolved from the Cretaceous titanosaurs. It wanders in small herds, grazing the yellow grasses of the central plains. Although its physical appearance has not changed very much from that of its ancestors, it has developed a complex social structure for life in the exposed grasslands. It has also evolved a feeding mechanism that allows it to eat tough grasses as well as the soft leaves of the bushes and trees. The mouth is broad and the teeth are sharp enough to crop grass, but not strong enough to chew it. The grass is swallowed in vast quantities and collects in an enormous muscular gizzard, a meter (3 feet) wide, in the forward part of the stomach. There it is pounded and crushed to a digestible pulp by masses of hard stones that are deliberately swallowed by the rajaphant from time to time.
Rajaphant 2

Each rajaphant herd has a strict social structure, and this is especially evident while the herd is on the march across the grasslands in the rainy season. Out in front is an old bull, the undisputed leader of the herd. The younger bulls march along the flanks in a defensive formation. The females shepherd the calves in a knot in the center of the herd.

The open plains and grasslands are visited by many species of predatory birds and hunting pterodactyl pterosaurs, that soar and circle in the hot skies searching for likely victims. Anything moving on the exposed ground is a potential meal, such as a young rajaphant.

Rajaphant protection

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