Giant Beaver (Castoroides spp.)
The giant beaver was a prehistoric species of beaver. It looked similar to modern beavers but, as the name implies, was considerably larger: it grew over 8 ft (2.4 m) in length — making it the largest rodent in North America during the last ice age and the largest known beaver. It weighed roughly 60 to 100 kg (130 to 220 lb), the size of a modern black bear…
(read more: Wikipedia)
painting by Charles R. Knight, 1904
Posts tagged Holocene.
Doing my usual yearly Thylacine research and giving myself the sads.
80 years since the last known capture, 77 since the last known death. What I wouldn’t give to see this marsupial brought back from extinction.
Tasmanian tiger too weak to hunt sheep
TASMANIAN TIGERS WERE INNOCENT of the crime that led many hunters to send them to extinction in the early 20th century, a study has revealed.
The iconic thylacine was mercilessly persecuted for allegedly killing sheep. But new research shows the carnivorous marsupial had jaws too weak to tackle anything much larger than a possum.
Scientists believe the thylacine’s inability to take down larger prey, together with loss of habitat, largely contributed to its downfall. The paid hunters who went gunning for the animal only finished what nature had started.
“Our research has shown that its rather feeble jaw restricted it to catching smaller, more agile prey,” says Dr Marie Attard, from the University of New South Wales (UNSW). “That’s an unusual trait for a large predator like that, considering its substantial thirty-kilogram body mass and carnivorous diet.”
“As for its supposed ability to take prey as large as sheep, our findings suggest that its reputation was at best overblown. While there is still much debate about its diet and feeding behaviour, this new insight suggests that its inability to kill large prey may have hastened it on the road to extinction.”
The scientists measured stress patterns in the skulls of a thylacine and two of Australasia’s largest remaining marsupial predators, the Tasmanian devil and the spotted-tailed quoll. Of the three, the thylacine skull was by far the most stressed in response to simulations of struggling prey and tearing and pulling bites.
“By comparing the skull performance of the extinct thylacine with those of closely related, living species we can predict the likely body size of its prey,” says Dr Stephen Wroe, director of UNSW’s Computational Biomechanics Research Group. “We can be pretty sure that thylacines were competing with other marsupial carnivores to prey on smaller mammals, such as bandicoots, wallabies and possums.”
“Especially among large predators, the more specialised a species becomes the more vulnerable it is to extinction. Just a small disturbance to the ecosystem, such as those resulting from the way European settlers altered the land, may have been enough to tip this delicately poised species over the edge.”
(via Australian Geographic)
it could have tackled very young lambs though, surely?
Decades of study of the DNA patterns of modern Europeans suggests two major events in prehistory significantly affected the continent’s genetic landscape: its initial peopling by hunter-gatherers in Palaeolithic times (35,000 years ago) and a wave of migration by Near Eastern farmers some 6,000 years ago. (in the early Neolithic)
Dire Wolf (Canis dirus) skeleton
Nick Bibby - Dodo (Raphus cucullatus, Linnaeus 1758)
Austria - Vienna - Museum of Natural History - Thylacine (by cerdsp)
Literally meaning Shiva’s Beast after the Hindu deity. is an extinct genus of giraffid (in the family Giraffidae) that lived in Africa and India within the last 8,000 years evidenced by cave paintings in the Sahara desert. they resembled an okapi but alot bigger at 10ft tall an weighing at 500kg, like Giraffes today they had “antlers” on their head but unlike extant giraffes their “antlers” were alot bigger, and in turn a thicker neck in-order to support their large heads.
Puerto Rican Nesophontes (Nesophontes edithae)
… aka Puerto Rican Shrew, is an extinct soricomorph endemic to the island of Puerto Rico. It is believed that the animal was never observed by Europeans. Contemporary fossils with indigenous artifacts and introduced rat fossils indicate survival into the colonial era, possibly until the 16th century. The shrew lived on the 4’ island montane forest/brush endemic to western Puerto Rico and was an insectivore. There are fossil specimens located in London.
It disappeared after introduction of rats and due to the destruction of its forest habitat.
(via: Wikipedia) (illustration by Jennifer Garcia)