Arsinoitherium zitteli, Bernard Long, 1980
Arsinoitherium is quiet for something that weighs two and a half tons. He treads lightly and does not grunt or moan. The silence is incongruous with his size, like a bulldozer with the voice of a moth. Plants are noisier—shrubs hiss as they brush his hide, and leafy stems rattle when they’re plucked and chewed.
Another male approaches. Arsinoitherium smells him before he sees the massive body stroll between trees—like a boulder drifting through a garden—sunlight dappling the broad, grey back. The animals pause and silently stare at each other across the brambles, weak eyes measuring outlines, cavernous nostrils inhaling musk, each waiting to see what the other will do. The stillness lasts for seven heartbeats, then, without a sound, they turn away to resume feeding and ambling, whatever passed between them remaining wordless and inscrutable.