Throughout Earth’s history, many animals once called the blue planet home. Some of today’s largest animals tower over humans. Bears, tigers, and other big cats are the largest carnivores on Earth. A species that has existed for billions of years has existed in the lifetime of a planet where even today’s largest animal looks tiny, where he is as tall as a horse and weighs as much as a ton A certain ancient Mongol predator can be found.
Andrewsarchus is the largest land-walking carnivorous mammal that has ever existed, but what exactly do we know about this ancient beast? Thanks to that, we can look into the past. Andrewsarchus is now extinct, but we still have much to learn about this giant predator that lived millions of years ago.
What is Andrewsarchus?
Andrewsarchus is an extinct genus of carnivore that lived in the Eocene. Andrewsarchus mongoliensis It is the only species in its genus. This animal is a mammal, and recent studies classify this species as an artiodactyl. It is a member of the clade Centancodontamorpha, which is closely related to animals such as hippos, dolphins, and whales.
Today, Andrewsarchus is known only from surviving fossil evidence. Research has shown that Andrewsarchus was as tall as a horse and weighed over a ton. Its size made him one of the largest carnivores to roam the earth.
Discovery of Andrewsarchus
Andrewsarchus is now known only from a single fossil found in the spring of 1923. On an expedition led by paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews, expedition member Kan Chuen Pao discovered his large 3-foot skull.
The American Museum of Natural History in New York sponsored the expedition.s name Andrewsarchus mongoliensis This is related to Inner Mongolia, the leader of the expedition and where the fossils were found.
When discovered, expedition members believed the large skull of Andrewsarchus belonged to an extinct pig. After being studied in the museum, further research showed the fossil to be a new species. When first classified, Andrewsarchus was placed in the mesonikid category and bore the title of “Giant Mongol Mesonikid”.
Today, Andrewsarchus is classified as an artiodactyl. With further research and the possibility of finding more fossils, there is much to be revealed about this ancient giant.
size and appearance
The Andrewsarchus skull, the only known fossil, was about 2.8 feet (86 cm) long and 1.8 feet (56 cm) wide. Their mouths were full of large, sharp teeth and flat cheek teeth. Using other similar fossils, experts can estimate the size of this animal. Andrewsarchus is estimated to have been 6 feet tall and 12 feet long.
We don’t know what this large mammal looks like, but most depictions show it to resemble a shaggy pig. If this mammal is of its estimated size, it would be the largest land mammal carnivore. The only carnivorous mammal comparable in size to them is the American short-faced bear, which stands over 11 feet upright and weighs up to 2,500 pounds.
What did Andrewsarchus eat?
There has been some debate as to what this animal ate, but it was most likely a carnivore. Experts believed Andresarchus was both a scavenger and a predator, eating the most available food. Andrewsarchus was tall like a horse and likely an apex predator, with the ability to kill most animals he attacked.
The habitat and age of Andrewsarchus
Inner Mongolia in China is where the only fossil of this species has been found. Andrewsarchus lived in the late Eocene, Paleogene period. Subtropical and temperate forests were abundant during this period. The species may have gone extinct during the Eocene epoch, 36 million years ago, but the cause of this animal’s disappearance is still unknown. Earth’s changing climate is one of his theories for why it killed megafauna like Andrewsarchus.
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