In a scientific breakthrough, a group of researchers has ferreted out the fossils of an incredibly large otter species in China. Throughout an exploration program, scientists stumbled upon a fossil as big as a wolf. As believed by the discoverers, the fossil belongs to a supermassive prehistoric Otter species, which frolicked in rivers and lakes of China, nearly 6.2 million years ago. The fossils are discovered in a green, temperate and moist wetlands province in southwestern China.
The scientists discovered the fossil in a well-preserved condition during an open lignite mine program, held in 2010. After the discovery, the scientists put the fossils for further tests and experiments, and the aftermaths of the research are published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. In the study paper, the researcher clearly mentioned about the wolf-sized fossil, which is believed to belong to an antediluvian Otter creature, which used to live among birds and water lilies in the forested wetlands of Yunnan province of China. As believed by the scientists, the creature weighed more than 100 pounds and hence was supermassive in mass.
According to Denise Su, the head of paleobotany and paleoecology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, “This wolf-sized primitive species is two to three times bigger than the living modern otter creatures.”
Scientists have named the outsized otter, as Siamogale melilutra. As mentioned in the study paper, the outsized creature used to weigh nearly 50 kg or 110 pounds and measured up to 2 meters or 6-1/2 feet long. It means, the primeval animal making much larger than any of its relatives living today.
The research paper, published on Monday in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology also suggested that Siamogale melilutra had engorged cheek teeth and brawny jaws and were being used for munching hard stuff. The cheek teeth and jaw configuration of the mysterious animal are estimated to be much larger than the shellfish and freshwater mollusks. Moreover, it was also capable of swimming in thin, boggy waters, said the researchers.
As said by Denise Su, “The fossilized skull was almost complete but trampled to nearly an inch and a half broad. The bones are quite delicate, and hence we won’t be able to reconstruct it bodily. So we made some CT scans of the cranium, following which, we digitally reconstructed the bones.”