A paper on the discovery of one of the largest otter species ever found has been published in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology.
This species aged 6.24 million years old has been discovered at Shuitangba, Southwestern China. This discovery represents leading-edge research into the evolution of a lesser known otter family’s fossil genus.
This otter species is called Siamogale melilutra. The fossil discovered has a complete cranium, dentition, mandible and different skeletal elements which provide information about the evolutionary history, taxonomy, and functional morphology of this otter species. It has been revealed that Siamogale belongs to one of the oldest and most primitive lineages of the otter family.
This otter species was about the size of a wolf and weight about 110 lbs, which is approximately twice as large as the largest otters living. It has a powerful and large jaw, with rounded-cusped cheek teeth. These characteristics looks like adaptations developed for eating large freshwater mollusks and shellfish, both of which were abundant at Shuitangba then.
The completeness of the specimens helps scientists to understand the evolutionary history of this genus of otters better. Researchers are working to understand its other aspects of life.
Content Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170123115213.htm