Giant Prehistoric Rodent had Mighty Tusks But wasn’t a Predator

February 5, 2015 3:49 AM

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According to scientists the largest ever rodent, Josephoartigasia monesi, used its huge incisors like elephant tusk while it dug for food or defended itself during an attack by predators. The species roamed our planet around three million years back. It is a native to South America and sported a pair of powerful, foot-long incisors. In spite of being closely related to modern guinea pigs, these ancient animals were not kept as pets. It usually weighed around two thousand pounds and was very similar in size with buffalo. By comparison with it, today the largest living rodent is capybara that weighs 145 pounds.

Scientists have just one fossil specimen of Josephoartigasia. It was skull discovered in Uruguay in 2007. The specimen is missing a lower jaw but otherwise is quite distinctive for its fearsome tooth. The new study is published in the Journal of Anatomy and researchers have used the skull to find ou...

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