Tennessee scientists unearth fossils of prehistoric pig-like creatures in stunning discovery

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In an exhilarating discovery, scientists with East Tennessee State College (ETSU) have not too long ago confirmed the prehistoric fossils present in an space often called the Grey Fossil Web site belonged to 2 totally different species of historic peccaries, pig-like creatures.

The fossils, together with a part of a well-preserved cranium, affirm that two species of peccaries — Mylohyus elmorei and Prosthennops serus — roamed this space in prehistoric occasions. Actually, the findings mark the primary time the stays of both species have been discovered within the Appalachian area, the college mentioned in a information launch.

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Whereas one of many two species, Prosthennops serus, had beforehand been present in different fossil websites within the U.S., it has by no means earlier than been discovered within the Appalachian area. And the opposite, Mylohyus elmorei,  has “solely been present in one area of central Florida, greater than 900 kilometers to the south,” the college mentioned.

Scientists have been in a position to establish these prehistoric species because of the “well-preserved stays of their skulls,” which included the “almost full decrease jaws of each species.”

Each the Prosthennops serus and the Mylohyus elmorei would doubtless have been the scale of a German shepherd, which scientists famous is bigger than modern-day peccaries.

“Particulars of the peccaries’ enamel recommend they spent their lives shopping on the leaves and fruits of succulent crops, so they might have been proper at residence within the Grey Fossil Web site ecosystem, which we all know from plant fossils was wealthy with tasty vegetation,” Chris Widga, the top curator on the ETSU Museum of Pure Historical past on the Grey Fossil Web site — which was as soon as “a big pond surrounded by a lush forest” — mentioned in a press release.

Whereas peccaries might resemble pigs, they aren’t members of the pig household, in line with the college.

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“True pigs, family members Suidae, are native to Europe, Asia and Africa, whereas peccaries belong to the household Tayassuidae and dwell within the Americas,” the college defined.

The Grey Fossil web site — which accommodates “fossil-rich clays” and preserves “an historic ecosystem that dates again round 5 million years,” in line with ETSU — was additionally residence to historic rhinos, tapirs, mastodons, alligators and past at one time.

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