Monday, November 10, 2008

Earth's Largest Rodent

The largest among the smallest: the body mass of the giant rodent Josephoartigasia monesi. 2008. V. Millien. Proc. Royal Soc. B.275: 1953-1955

Kamandi © DC Comics
One I missed last summer…:

The newly-identified Josephoartigasia monesi is believed to be the largest rodent ever to have walked the Earth, was about three meters long and 1.5 meters tall, and weighed from 468 kilos to 2.5 tonnes, according to researchers.

The remains of the skull was found in a broken boulder on Kiyu Beach on the coast of Uruguay's River Plate region. Measuring a whopping 53 cm, the skull has massive incisors several centimeters long.

Despite this fearsome look, the creature was not carnivorous and looked more hippo-like than rat-like. It was so big that it probably spent much of its life semi-submerged in water, to reduce the stresses caused by its size.

The largest living rodent is the carpincho or capybara that also lives in regions of South America and can weigh up to 60 kg. link