Study: Giant rodent fossils with incredibly strong teeth discovered

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY: Scientists have found that teeth in enormous extinct rodents were used for more than just eating.

Posted: February 5, 2015

A recent study conducted by University of York and The Hull York Medical School researchers has revealed that the largest rodent known to man may have once used its giant teeth in a similar way elephants use tusks, according to an official news release. The rodent, which is related to the guinea pig, lived more than three million years ago and weighed over two thousand pounds. Scientists note that this animal was similar in size to a buffalo and had extremely resilient front teeth, which suggests they were used for more than just eating. The study, published in the Journal of Anatomy, is based on a 20-inch skull fossil scientists found belonging to the gigantic rodent. 

The research 
Researchers did a CT scan of the fossil, created a computer model and reconstructed a digital lower jaw based on the bones of other similar animals. The team used the model to determine how much force the rodent, officially named Josephoartigasia, would use while biting down. Scientists noted that Josephoartigasia's incisor teeth could withstand forces well beyond those needed to eat, leading to the conclusion that they must have had a secondary purpose. In the news release, Dr. Philip Cox, a researcher on the project explained:

"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."

These giant rodents once lived in South America and likely were a force to be reckoned with. Just imagine a muscular, five-foot tall guinea pig bearing titanic teeth charging at you across a grassy field. Luckily, these Brobdingnagian creatures have long since been extinct. 

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