Giant beavers with a size which was on par with that of black bears used to roam wetlands and lakes found in North America. The powerful creatures became extinct when the last ice age ended. Several fossils of the giant beavers were found in sites ranging from Florida to Alaska and even Yukon. The giant beavers weighed 100 kilograms, but two critical differences are present in comparison to the species of beavers found today.
Instead of the well-known paddle-shaped tail, the giant beaver had a long skinny tail, in the vein of the one possessed by a muskrat. While modern beavers enjoy incisors which sharped and similar to a chosen the incisors of the giant beaver were more bulky and curved, they were more blunt, missing the sharp cutting edge.
The extinction of the giant beaver took place 10,000 years ago when much large-bodied ice age creature meets their demise, including the well-known wooly mammoth. The exact cause remained a mystery for a long while, but a team of researchers may have solved the dilemma.
Why have giant beavers gone extinct?
Some researchers thought that environmental conditions might have played a significant role. Among the theories, we can mention those who argue that the weather became to warm, or they ran out of food.
Other studies argued that the species thrived in areas where the climate was warm and wet as many fossils were found in the sediments encountered in such areas. The main question focused on the behavior of the creature since it was not clear if the giant beaver cut down trees, or did it rely on a different source of food?
Chemical signatures found in the fossils were able to provide an answer to this question, and the analysis proved that the giant beaver ate a large number of aquatic plants. When the climate became too warm, the wetlands began to dry, and the giant beavers lost their food source. A comprehensive article on this topic was published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Stacy Richardson is a seasoned journalist with 15 years experience.. She has conducted numerous research studies on media effects including the effects of bullying on adolescents, and “sexy media” effects on sexual behavior. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Stacy covers stories affecting local politics and economy. Contact Stacy here.