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Synthetoceras dichalodromeas - The Y-Fork Horned Deer - MonstersHunters




With the current creature vote for Scorched Earth, there are numerous animals that my team and I found could work as additions into the map, though one such animal that we suggested and focused as an inclusion into the map is a creature usually underlooked in the paleontological community for its unique characteristics. A desert and arid-adapted subspecies of Synthetoceras, an animal that would thrive in the canyons, shrublands, badlands, steppes and the borders of the sand dunes of the Ark, that originated from Late Miocene North and Central America that was discovered in 1932.



Common Name:



Species: Synthetoceras dichalodromeas

Time: Late Miocene

Diet: Herbivore

Temperament: Environmental


Tameable: Yes

Rideable: Yes

Breedable: Yes


Torpidity Immune: No

Taming Method: Knockout

Preferred Kibble: Regular

Preferred Food: Wheat, Barley and Sorghum (Primitive Plus)

Equipment: “Synthetoceras Saddle” (Level 42 - Crafted at either a Smithy or on an Argentavis saddle)

Rider Weaponry: No

Humans Can Carry: No 


Synthetoceras Design - Created by paleoartist/illustrator Mauricio Antón Ortuzar



"Synthetoceras dichalodromeas is a 7 foot (6.8 ft) tall subspecies of Synthetoceratinae Protoceratidae even-toed ungulate that migrates across the scrublands, forests, steppe and deserts of the Scorched Earth. Appearing similar in appearance to antelopes, these deer-like mammals are most known for their bizarre Y-shaped and forked nasal horns present exclusively in males, who use these horns to combat each other in sexual display during the mating season, or against predators who stumble too close into their territory”.


"While these mammals vary in behaviour, with most being skittish or defensive. They can quickly turn hostile in a second, though. While males usually live in their own formatted territories and females live in communities until the mating season. Comforting and caring for one of these unique animals can provide a survivor with an agile, resistant, defensive and stamina-efficient tame that is adapted for the slightest changes of heat in its desert habitat”.




Discovered originally in 1932 in the state of Nebraska (the Valentine Formation) by American palaeontologist Ruben Arthur Stirton, the genus Synthetoceras or “Combined Horn'' in Greek was a large protoceratid mammalian from the Late Miocene or from 10.3 to 5.3 Million Years Ago. Found in the Suchilquitongo Formation of Mexico, the Citronelle Formation of Alabama, the Alachua Formation of Florida, Mississippi and Lousinia, and the Goliad Formation of Texas, Synthetoceras would have filled a role similar to other even-toed ungulates such as in Cervidae and ruminants such as deer and pronghorn antelopes. Synthetoceras is most notably distinguishable for its skull, a mass that contains a joint nasal or muzzle horn and its dual or set of two horns above each eyebrow, a characteristic also present in Syndyoceras and Kyptoceras of the same family. However, while appearing similar to the previously mentioned ungulates, Synthetoceras and the protoceratid family are more closely related to the infraorder of Tragulina, which includes the present day clade of Chevrotain or the family of Tragulidae, also known as mouse-deer. The smallest ungulates on the planet, whose ancestors related to Synthetoceras split off from Pecora or horn-bearing ungulates (deer, sheep, bison, cattle, giraffes, antelope, pronghorns and musk deer) during the Early Eocene.

The paleoenvironment of Synthetoceras varies across the American continent, though for this suggestion. One location of mention is the Alachua Formation. In the Alachua Formation of Florida, Synthetoceras lived alongside a wide array of unique fauna and flora in a semi-tropical habitat, including ground sloths such as Thinobadistes segnis and Pliometanastes protistus, the elephant Amebelodon, the bear-dog Amphicyon longiramus, bone-crushing dogs such as Epicyon, canids such as Eucyon, the marine otter Enhydritherium terraenovae, camelids including Aepycamelus, Hemiauchenia and Nothokemas floridanus, the oreodont Merycoidodon, different species of peccary, rhinos such as Aphelops and Menoceras, various species of horses including DInohippus, Nanhippus and Cormohipparion, and the dewgong Metaxytherium floridanum. These environments were similar in qualities to the present environment of North America, though the climates and habitats that Synthetoceras thrived in ranged from plains, grasslands and scrublands to temperate forests and wetlands. This species was adaptable, filling a niche as grazing animals who migrated across the Americas, thriving until the Paleoncene and dying out before and around the Great American Interchange.



With the anatomical structures of Synthetoceras, the skulls of Synthetoceras are some of the only fossils known of this genus, present in both S. tricoronatus and S. davisorum. The unique Y shaped fork-tipped horn is present and prominent among Late Miocene and Early Pleistocene protoceratids. Though what is unique about these horns is their purpose. Many palaeontologists speculate that these “horns” were used specifically and are present in only males, who used this sexual display primarily through combat, with territorial disputes being a possibility. Apart from the skull shape of Synthetoceras, the body anatomy is considered to be very similar to other species of ruminants, mainly those belonging to Pecora such as musk deer and saiga antelopes.



When suggesting an idea or concept for a new antelope-like creature that has different features from current animals in Ark such as Megaloceros or the Irish Elk, the first detail is its design. S. dichalodromeas should contain a presence of its unique fork-shaped horn, as well as a few characteristics related to other members of protoceratidae. Syndyoceras is another genus of Synthetoceratinae protoceratid, of whom shares similar adaptations and features similar to Synthetoceras, but also shares qualities such as an inflated muzzle like that of a Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica), the horns present on both clades are compared to the ossicones or the “columnar/conical skin-covered bone structures'' present on the head of giraffes, okapis and their relatives, and Syndyoceras also had foot anatomy similar to early horses (odd-toed ungulates) such as the Equidae horse Merychippus. Kyptoceras is another member of Synthetoceratinae, though one feature present on this genus is that all of its horns are bent/face forwards, including its nasal and brow horns, a natural adaptation of protection that could be slightly implemented into Synthetoceras. Synthetoceras should also bear physical features and a coat similar in design to a mouse-deer, due to their common ancestry and taxonomy, when referring to other modern species (most outside of the Tragulina classification).


Another detail I wanted to add for variety is a different form of temperament, this being environmental. When under stress (low health), in combat or injured, Synthetoceras will change behaviour differently depending on the individual, though will have a higher percent chance of either becoming aggressive, territorial or shy in this specific circumstance. Their temperament should vary individually, but also for both genders, with males being more territorial. An aspect present in many modern ruminants such as American Bison, Water Buffalo, Elk and Moose, where males are more dominant in herds or in protecting their territory from rivals, intruders or predators.



The Greater Mouse-Deer or Tragulus napu is a prime example of what the coat of the animal should resemble in layout/arrangement in patterns.


The fangs or specialised canine teeth present in both musk deer (a member of Pecora - not directly related or belonging to the same infraorder as Synthetoceras or Protoceratidae) and is present in mouse-deer, of whom should be added to the design of Synthetoceras, as a speculative feature when compared to present day members of Tragulidae who are distantly, yet more closely related to Protoceratidae than that of Elk, Moose, Caribou or the previously mentioned musk deer. A secondary reason for the inclusion of fangs, would be that other Protoceratidae such as the genus Syndyoceras, Leptoreodon and specifically Protoceras bear these “tusks”. A skull of Protoceras is displayed below:



In the front of a Male Protoceras skull, a pair of sharp teeth, tusks or “fangs” are apparent. Even if the two species belong to the same family of Protoceratidae, though different subfamilies. The Ark subspecies could/should share homage or similarity to Protoceras and its relatives.



The proboscis and the anatomy of the torso and neck region of a Saiga Antelope could be used as a base model for the Synthetoceras. The secondary horns or ossicones of the Synthetoceras were not spiral-horned (or corkscrewed) like that of a Saiga, so the only characteristics that should be different is the head shape apart from the nasal cavity, the horns (both above the eye-brow and nasal horn) and the front and hind legs of the Synthetoceras that should be more robust in shape in comparison.




- Synthetoceras dichalodromeas is a robust and adaptable extremophile able to survive the harsh weather, droughts and periods of limited grazing plant matter available, the animal has a unique digestive system and stomach similar to camels that can withhold and process foods with greater production of stamina. Allowing Synthetoceras to run quite quickly in short to long bursts (depending on its stamina and the level of the tame).

- Male Synthetoceras can and will use their sharp Y-shaped forked horns to slash and impale rivals and opponents, applying either the “Bleeding!” debuff, or a new (5% chance of applying) a status effect known as “Hemorrhage” where the target slowly ends up bleeding out to death. Medical brews and special treatment are the only methods able to remove this effect (a more severe version of the Injured effect in simplification).

- Synthetoceras Females are more agile, and instead have a greater amount of damage output through the use of their specialised hindlegs to kick and break the bones of predators. While Synthetoceras lacked cannon bones around their hooves, the compact muscle arrangements around its legs could break bone or kill an enemy target if kicked in the skull or ribs (does not apply a narcotic effect like that of an Equus).

- Unlike Megaloceros, Synthetoceras were not specialised for jumping, instead. These defensive and athletic animals rely more on stamina, movement speed and the ability to quickly sidestep or turn to slam or slice enemy targets.

- Present in both Syndyoceras, mouse-deer and in members of Pecora with the musk-deer, Synthetoceras bares 3 inch long tusk-like canine teeth that the males and females use as a defence mechanism that the males use to bite and tear at rivals. 

- Synthetoceras and other protoceratids are known for their incisors and molar teeth present in the mouth cavities that could break down, grind and digest a wide variety of plant matter, including (speculative) cactus fibre, charcoal, cotton, rare flowers and a wide variety of berries. Allowing the Synthetoceras to not compete entirely with the harvesting roles of the Megaloceros or the Equus.

- Synthetoceras apply an insulated status effect and have a proximity buff that decreases the effects of sandstorms and wind currents on nearby tames and survivors, due to their lightly packed fur coats.

- Synthetoceras shares similar qualities to Syndyoceras, baring the Saiga-like trunk/proboscis that helps the animal filter out sand and dust in its habitat, resulting in the Synthetoceras naturally generating sand in its inventory in an ability I would nickname as “Vellus Collector” (an ability similar to the sand collected by a player during a sandstorm).

- The Synthetoceras subspecies with its convergently evolved trunk (that is speculated and inspired by the Saiga antelope), is able to cool off or warm up its own body temperature and bloodstream, via mucus glands present in the downwards facing trunk (a temperature-based ability that can cool down the animal and its rider during sandstorms, heatwaves, periods of heatstroke and overheat).

- Male Synthetoceras have a mateboost ability that increases experience, imprinting and levelling rates to both themselves and females where it enhances mating capabilities. This is based on the glands around the lower jaws of male Greater Mouse Deer or Tragulus napu which increases mating hormones in nearby females.

- To survive in the desert and scrubland landscape of the Scorched Earth, Synthetoceras will vary in their daily grazing methods, with most being nocturnal grazers. This allows these animals to migrate, travel and graze on the hardy conifers, shrubs and grasses (Synthetoceras fed on tough grasses in its biome in North and Central America) in its environment, during the night when external temperatures are cooler and less hostile.




Any suggestions and comments please reply below.

These are my team's suggestions, so all credit and reference goes to them for the idea (s).


- MonstersHunters













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