Josephoartigasia

An illustration of an extinct giant rodent. It resembles a big chunky capybara.

The biggest known rodent of all time, Josephoartigasia monesi from the Pliocene and early Pleistocene of Uruguay, South America (~4-2 mya). Similar in size to a modern bison, it stood about 1.5m tall at the shoulder (4′11″) and weighed around 900kg (~2000lbs).

Despite looking like an extra-large capybara, it was only distantly related to the modern giant rodents. Its closest living relative is actually the much smaller pacarana.

Its 30cm long (12″) incisors could produce a large amount of bite force, and it may have used them in a similar manner to elephant tusks – rooting in the ground for food, stripping trees and branches, or defending itself from predators.

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