comScore Bull-Sized Guinea Pig Relative Used Buckteeth As Weapons | The Mary Sue

New Study Says Ancient, Bull-Sized Relative of the Guinea Pig Used its Buckteeth As Weapons of War

I don't believe they exist!

rodentsofunusualsize

Give your guinea pig ample sawdust and carrot peel tonight, for she deserves trappings befitting of a warrior: according to a study published earlier this month in the Journal of Anatomy, the largest rodent yet discovered was an ancient, bull-sized cousin of the guinea pig with strength equivalent to a modern-day tiger’s. Guinea pigs are mad hard.

Although the only remains of the R.O.U.S. in question were discovered in Uruguay back in 2007, a recent CT scan conducted on the Pliocene period fossilised skull has given researchers unprecedented insight into Josephoartigasia monesi (latin for gigantic badass, presumably). After constructing a computer model of the specimen with the rodent’s missing lower jaw modeled after a closely related species, the researchers played with finite element analysis, what The BBC describes as “a technique from engineering which calculates stresses and strains in complex objects.”

The analysis indicated that the rodent’s front incisors had strength equivalent to a modern-day tiger’s bite, although the team notes that the teeth appear “over-engineered” and might have been even more forceful than analysis indicates.

Study author Dr Philip Cox explains,

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. This is very similar to how a modern-day elephant uses its tusks.

Now, if we could just learn a little more about shrieking eels…

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