Ancient otter found to be the size of a wolf
Jan 24, 2017
Today, meeting a wolf-sized otter would be incredibly scary. But about six million years ago these were the most common creatures on the banks of rivers.
But it is also important to consider why it evolved to such a small size.
Like today it spent most of its time in the water. The similarities were extremely close with the only defense being an incredible size.
The Skull was first discovered in Hong Kong in a mining site. It is estimated the otter was around 100 pounds, placing it in the same weight scale as a wolf.
This is incredibly significant for an otter. But it is also important to consider why it evolved to such a small size.
The scientists insist that as the food supply became smaller, the need to have a smaller built to adapt to the foods was important. They used to eat custodians with sharp shells giving them strong jaws to crush the shell. It is likely that this ancient mammal had few predators due to its robust nature and its ability to move from the water to land giving predators a difficult time.
"From the beginning of the discovery, we realized that it could be a new species because of its huge size," Professor Ji Xueping told CNN. "I'm not an expert in carnivores, but I knew, when it was taken out of the ground, that this was something new."
The ancient mammal has been named Melilutra a combination of Latin names meles, which is Latin for badger and Lutra which means otter. The scientists believe that it had characteristics of these small mammals.