Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fossils of giant otters discovered.


how about an otter as big as a leopard or wolf? New fossil evidence indicates that such species lived in southwest China for more than 6 million years ago.

A reconstruction of the giant otter Siamogale melilutra.Image: Mauricio Anton/AP/TT

the findings, described in The Journal of Systematic Paleontology, consists of a complete cranium, a mandible, a number of teeth plus bits and pieces of the rest of the skeleton. This has made it possible to do a complete reconstruction of the animal.

the Jaws were very strong, with rounded teeth, typical of the otters which live bivalve molluscs, crabs and other skalförsedda molluscs. The sediments at the site suggests that the species, dubbed Siamogale melilutra, lived in a shallow lake with surrounding wetlands.

the Weight of the animal in real life is estimated to be about 50 kilograms, or about as much as a puma, leopard or wolf.

This is twice as much as the weight of the jätteuttern and the sea otter, the two greatest contemporary utterarterna. Our own Swedish otters are considerably smaller with a weight of about 10 kg.

Scientists do not know why Siamogale was so great, or exactly what the ecology of the animal had. The idea is that further studies of the remains will provide clues that can answer the questions.


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