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The bite force of the largest fossil rodent (Hystricognathi, Caviomorpha, Dinomyidae)

Authors

  • R. ERNESTO BLANCO,

  • ANDRÉS RINDERKNECHT,

  • GUSTAVO LECUONA


R. Ernesto Blanco [ernesto@fisica.edu.uy], Facultad de Ciencias, Instituto de Física, Iguá 4225, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay; Andrés Rinderknecht [apaleorinder@yahoo.com] and Gustavo Lecuona [sa_fossil@yahoo.com], Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, CC. 399, 11000, Montevideo, Uruguay; manuscript received on 14/10/2010; manuscript accepted on 04/02/2011.

Abstract

Blanco R.E., Rinderknecht, A. & Lecuona, G. 2011: The bite force of the largest fossil rodent (Hystricognathi, Caviomorpha, Dinomyidae). Lethaia, Vol. 45, pp. 157–163.

An exceptionally well-preserved skull of the largest fossil rodent Josephoartigasia monesi allows the first analysis of the bite mechanics of this group of South American giant rodents. In this study, we reconstructed the main anatomical features of the skull of this Pliocene rodent, relating them to the bite force at incisors. Bite force was estimated using three different techniques. Two methods suggest that bite forces at incisors of around 1000 N were possible for these mammals. However, the incisors seem to be stronger than expected for this bite force implying that the bite forces may have been greater than 3000 N. We consider three hypotheses: allometric effects, teeth digging or defence against predators, to explain our results. □Bite force, Dinomyidae, incisors, largest rodent, Pliocene.

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