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Palaeontology

Fossils of giant otter unearthed in China

By T.K. Randall
January 23, 2017 · Comment icon 7 comments



Otters have roamed the Earth for millions of years. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Garry Knight
Paleontologists have revealed the discovery of a prehistoric otter that was around the size of a wolf.
Dating back over six million years and weighing in at 100 pounds, these huge semi-aquatic mammals were thought to have once thrived in the shallow swamplands of ancient China.

The species was identified following the discovery of three partial skeletons and a complete skull and mandible at the Shuitangba Site in northeastern Yunnan Province, southwest China.
"While the cranium is incredibly complete, it was flattened during the fossilization process," said research team leader Denise Su from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

"The bones were so delicate that we could not physically restore the cranium. Instead, we CT-scanned the specimen and virtually reconstructed it in a computer."

Twice the size of today's otters, these enormous animals possessed powerful jaws and enlarged teeth that would have enabled them to crack open clams and other shellfish with ease.

Source: Gizmodo | Comments (7)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Lilly 6 years ago
Otters are cute...giant otters are kind of scary though. Glad they lived 6 million years ago!
Comment icon #2 Posted by Still Waters 6 years ago
I like otters and have only ever seen some in a wildlife park. It would be nice to see one in the wild, a normal sized one that is!
Comment icon #3 Posted by Mr.United_Nations 6 years ago
The amazon otters are fairly large
Comment icon #4 Posted by oldrover 6 years ago
The normal sized ones are a bit frisky too, as a 15 year old the late British Wildlife presenter Terry Nutkins lost the end of two fingers to a Eurasian otter called Edal.  
Comment icon #5 Posted by freetoroam 6 years ago
Six million years ago, the wetlands and river valleys of southwestern China were full of life:  Well this can not be put down to over fishing or pollution  by the Chinese, today is a different story.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Lucas Cooper Merrin 6 years ago
Why is it that all fauna are getting progressively smaller? 
Comment icon #7 Posted by newbloodmoon 6 years ago
me likey the giant otter....


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