By Alison Majikes/Special to TheDailyFloss.com
The largest rodent ever discovered more than likely used its huge front teeth (nearly a foot long) to dig and defend itself, in addition to chowing down, on a daily basis.
But don’t worry abut your kids wanting to take home this fuzzy friend from the pet store, the bull-sized relative of the modern day guinea pig, shown above in an illustration by James Gurney, became extinct about two million years ago.
Based on a CT scan of its skull and computer simulation of what the rodent may have looked like when it roamed the earth, scientists have estimated its bite could have been as strong as a tiger.
Upon further research into the animal, it was discovered that its gigantic pearly whites were built to withstand forces three times stronger than normal rodent teeth, meaning they were probably used for much more than just eating.
Researchers from the UK and Uruguay published their study in the Journal of Anatomy.
According to an article from Design & Trend, the animal lived during the Pliocene period – a warm era when large mammals were plentiful.
In order to find out more about the species and its habits, the team of scientists preformed a CT scan of the skull that was discovered in Uruguay in 2007 and used the scan to reconstruct a computer model, including its missing lower jaw, which they took from a related species.
“We concluded that Josephoartigasia (specimen of Josephoartigasia monesi )must have used its incisors for activities other than biting, such as digging in the ground for food, or defending itself from predators,” the study’s first author Dr. Philip Cox, an anatomist at Hull York Medical School and the University of York, said in a statement.
To read the full article about the monstrous rodent: http://www.designntrend.com/articles/38418/20150204/largest-rodent-used-foot-long-teeth-tusks.htm
Alison Majikes is a Customer Service Representative at Benco Dental with a Journalism degree from Penn State and she never had any guinea pigs or comparable rodent friends growing up in suburban Pennsylvania.