Mammoth Site Researchers Involved In Discovery of New Capybara Fossil Species
Mammoth Site Researchers Involved In Discovery of New Capybara Fossil Species

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. – Researchers from The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota have published the results of their study of a new fossil species of capybara found in San Diego County, California. Named Hydrochoerus hesperotiganites, it is closely related to the modern capybara (Hydrochoerus), the largest living rodent, which weighs as much as 130 pounds and is found in South America and Panama. While other species of fossil capybaras are known from Central America and the southern and southwestern United States, this is the first fossil species of the living Hydrochoerus known from North America.

The paper, “A new species of Hydrochoerus (Rodentia: Caviidae: Hydrochoerinae) from the Pleistocene of San Diego County, California, USA with remarks on capybara biogeography and dispersal in the Pleistocene of western North America,” was published in the scientific journal Vertebrate Anatomy Morphology Paleontology on February 28, 2022. Authors include Mammoth Site Director of Research Dr. Jim Mead and Research Associate Richard White, Tom Deméré of the San Diego Natural History Museum and New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science curator Gary Morgan.

White said, “Trying to figure out how this species got to California from Panama, where its closest relative is found today, was the most intriguing part of the research. We suggest that it followed a coastal route along the Pacific lowlands of northern México, up the Colorado River and eventually into California.” The Mammoth Site is a research center that studies the Ice Age throughout all of western North America, not just the Black Hills. Projects take place throughout the year from Sonora, México to the Canadian Border.

 

Read the Full Research Paper Below

Saltpeter and Sloths

Saltpeter and Sloths

It was not long after Cuvier described the first fossil sloth, Megatherium, in 1796 that additional discoveries of fossil sloths were made. The next prominent discovery was not in South America as might be expected but instead in North America. The discovery of this...

The Discovery of Sloths: Strange Animals in a Strange New Land

The Discovery of Sloths: Strange Animals in a Strange New Land

When you have an animal named after one of the seven deadly sins, a common question is which came first, the animal or the sin? Geologically speaking, the credit goes to the animal, as the sloth lineage existed long before there were humans to give it any name. While...

Proboscideans from US National Park Service Lands

Proboscideans from US National Park Service Lands

Jim I. Mead, Justin S. Tweet, Vincent L. Santucci, Jeffrey T. Rasic, and Sharon E. Holte Abstract - Proboscideans (Mammalia, Proboscidea) are an ubiquitous part of North American ver-tebrate faunas throughout the Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene. Here we discuss the...

Late Quaternary Chorus Frog

Late Quaternary Chorus Frog

Late Quaternary Chorus Frog (Pseudacris) from the Channel Islands, CaliforniaJim I. MeadMammoth Site of Hot Springs South Dakota, jmead@mammothsite.orgJustin WilkinsMammoth Site of Hot Springs South Dakota, justinw@mammothsite.orgPaul W. CollinsSanta Barbara Museum of...