Sunday, 14 June 2015

Giant and mini beavers once waddled across North America

June 12, 2015

John Hopton for – @Johnfinitum

At the time humans arrived, North America was home to some seriously impressive megafauna. Ten thousand years ago, around the period woolly mammoths were dying out, America still had enormous beavers of up to 2 meters (7ft) in length and weighing 200 pounds or more.

The giant beavers, known as Castoroides, closely resembled modern beavers, except they were the size of black bears, had much bigger feet and appear to have had the wrong shaped teeth to cut wood. They therefore probably did not build dams. Aw, dam.

Gizmodo'™s Annalee Newitz suggests that beavers were among the mammals that dealt well with the cooling climate of the Earth during the Pleistocene. The role of humans in their extinction and whether they hunted them is not clear, but it is known that humans hunted woolly mammoths. It’s also possible they were just too afraid to live in a world which had beavers the size of Shaquille O’Neal.

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