A study published in the notable Journal of Anatomy suggests that the world’s biggest rodent, who lived about 2 million years back and was a cousin of the guinea pig, used its enormous front teeth like horns or tusks. The research team comprising of scientists from Uruguay and United Kingdom reported that the creature might have used its teeth to defend as well as dig instead of simply chewing food. In the words of Dr Philip Cox, the first author of the study, “We concluded that Josephoartigasia must have used its incisors for activities other than biting, such as digging in the ground for food, or defending itself from predators,”
How did the team come to its conclusion?
The team arrived at the finding based on the CT scan of the creature’s skull in addition to computer simulations. Based on these examinations, the team found that the creature made much use of its thirty centimeter teeth for other things and not only to eat. The team also reported that besides possessing bite capacity as big as that of a tiger, the rodent’s front teeth could withstand forces of considerable power and strength. Thus, the researchers are of the belief that the creature’s front incisors must have been employed for tasks that needed additional muscle power similar to a neck, in addition to jaw muscles.
Fossilized skull of 1000kg Josephoartigasia monesi discovered in Uruguay!
One of the biggest rodents ever known to man, a fossilized skull of the creature was discovered in Uruguay more than seven years ago in 2007. The South American creature is believed to have weighed about one thousand kilograms, and was named Josephoartigasia monesi. The mammal lived in a period called Pliocene, a warm epoch when large-sized mammals roamed the earth, including the world’s first mammoths.