Thursday, November 23, 2017
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Huge prehistoric otter was the size of a wolf


Posted on Friday, 10 November, 2017 | Comment icon 8 comments

China's prehistoric otters were much larger than today's species. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Garry Knight
The remarkable species, which once roamed what is now China, had a bite comparable to that of a bear.
Fossil fragments from the species, which date back over six million years, were unearthed at a site in southwestern China known as Shuitangba which was once a swamp surrounded by dense woodland.

The otter, which has been dubbed Siamogale melilutra, was much larger than today's otters at around the size of a wolf and weighed up to 50kg.

Unlike its modern counterparts which eat fish and shellfish, this prehistoric species had an appetite for just about any sort of prey and possessed powerful jaws capable of delivering a devastating bite.

"We conducted a series of engineering simulations on the jaw models of fossil otters as well as ten living otter species and what we found was that the fossil otter had a jaw that was six times as strong as expected, based on what we see in living species," said Dr Jack Tseng of the University at Buffalo.

This means that Siamogale melilutra had the chewing ability of a bear.

"Carnivores are known to evolve powerful jaws, often for the purpose of cracking the bones of their prey," said palaeontologist Xiaoming Wang.

"In the shallow swamp of South China, it's possible that an abundance of big clams drove these giant otters to acquire their rare traits, including their crushing teeth and robust jaws."

Source: BBC News | Comments (8)

Tags: Otter

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Likely Guy on 9 November, 2017, 18:12
I saw my first up close otter this summer. Thankfully he was only 1/10th the size.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Hammerclaw on 9 November, 2017, 18:45
The Northern Sea Otter males are in the same size range and can weigh in excess of a hundred pounds(46 kilos) but lack the massive jaws of this species.
Comment icon #3 Posted by aztek on 9 November, 2017, 21:35
everything was bigger back than i've read about flying predator as big as jumbo jet, and dragonflies 2-3 feet long, they think oxygen level was higher back than, biologists did an experiment, they had dragonfliesgrow in oxygen rich environment, they did grow huge,
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer on 10 November, 2017, 20:09
Do we have proof the critter ate anything or is this just a theory? It's a good one, but it seems strange that the modern otter, as cute and funny as they are, only eat fish. Maybe the fish were nastier back then and the otter needed the jaws.
Comment icon #5 Posted by rashore on 10 November, 2017, 20:14
Holy shades of Hyrax!!!
Comment icon #6 Posted by aztek on 10 November, 2017, 20:17
yea, if otters were the size of a wolf, how big were the wolves?
Comment icon #7 Posted by _KB_ on 11 November, 2017, 17:59
I kinda wan't one now... you know as a pet
Comment icon #8 Posted by freetoroam on 11 November, 2017, 18:05
About the size of the otter.


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
 United States and the Americas
  Teen Mental Health is Declining
  Argentina missing navy submarine
  Baltimore Neighborhood Under Lockdown
 Computers, Gaming & The Internet
  Decent Computer for Gaming
  dissapointment
  First to Fight
 Spirituality, Religion and Beliefs
  Evolution of Spirit
  Gnostic Revelation.
  Suicide Kings
NASA reveals Cassini 'farewell Saturn' image
11-22-2017
A breathtaking mosaic of the iconic ringed gas giant has been put together by the Cassini mission team.
Mature white crocodile sighted in Australia
11-22-2017
Nicknamed Pearl, the reptile was seen swimming around in the Adelaide River near Darwin on Sunday.
Flat-Earther to launch himself in a rocket
11-22-2017
Self-taught rocket scientist 'Mad' Mike Hughes is hoping to reach 1,800ft in his own steam-powered rocket.
Entire family of mammoths goes on sale
11-21-2017
The skeletons, which include a one-year-old baby, were discovered by builders in Siberia 15 years ago.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
What do we know of the giant squid ?
Posted 11-20-2017 | 1 comment
The giant squid is so elusive that it took until 2004 for someone to photograph a live specimen.
 
Slow motion katana slice
Posted 11-18-2017 | 0 comments
The Slo Mo Guys attempt to slice through a row of water bottles using a katana sword.
 
What happened to the Library of Alexandria ?
Posted 11-17-2017 | 5 comments
What really happened to the vast wealth of knowledge stored in the ancient library ?
 
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
Strange occurrences
11-15-2017 | Fife
 
Mysterious music box song
11-15-2017 | U.S.A
 
Haunted military house
10-23-2017 | New Zealand
 
Sleep paralysis or real encounter?
10-18-2017 | United Kingdom
 
Ghost playing with a balloon?
10-18-2017 | Australia
 
Impossible phone call
10-18-2017 | West Virginia
 
Seeing cats
10-18-2017 | Santa Rosa
 
Fourth of July UFO show
10-18-2017 | Hillsboro ND
 
Guardian angel ?
9-13-2017 | Middle of nowhere Iowa
 

         More stories | Send us your story
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 Unexplained-Mysteries.com 2001-2017
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ