Evolution News

Largest ever fossil rabbit found, not in Cambrian

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File:FEMURS (drets) de Myotragus, Conill gegant, conill de camp.JPG
Right femurs of Myotragus, Minorcan lagomorph, and modern European Rabbit

In “New to Nature No 57: Nuralagus rex” (The Guardian, October 23, 2011), Quenton Wheeler tells us about the 2.5 mya “fossil of the giant rabbit of Menorca show it to be the largest lagomorph ever seen” (rabbit, hare):

The small skull of Nuralagus, which lived on Menorca, suggests dramatic decreases in hearing, sight, and motor-related abilities compared to typical rabbits. Because it had no known predators, there was no selection for detecting or outrunning them. The lagomorph, the largest ever seen, appears to have had reduced aerobic capacity and to have walked slowly rather than jumped quickly.

Given that the animal lived on a remote island (Minorca, in the Balearics in the Mediterranean), it may be analogous to the extinct (in recent memory)10-ft, flightless elephant bird of Madagascar, prey in recent history to French colonists.

12 Replies to “Largest ever fossil rabbit found, not in Cambrian

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    This is very common in the fossil record.
    Always segregated creatures on islands etc become very big or small relative to how we know them today or from the usual size in the fossil record.
    Its an equation.
    In indicates there is no right size. like Pygmies in Africa alongside hugh men.

    The rabbits would be too big too jump and were safe and didn’t need too.
    let its just natural health that let them get big.
    Selection has never had much influence in biology.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Extremely Big, and Bad, Hare Day:

    Bad Hare – Cartoon Image

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Here’s the link to the article:

    New to Nature No 57: Nuralagus rex – The fossil of the giant rabbit of Menorca show it to be the largest lagomorph ever seen
    Excerpt: Nuralagus rex lived in the Late Neogene, which ended about 2.5m years ago, and was 10 times the size of extant rabbits, weighing an estimated average of 12 kg.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Other examples of giant fossils:

    Specific species of mega fauna have captured the attention of the majority, the saber-toothed tiger and the wooly mammoth for example. However there was actually an incredible variety of giant creatures, incomprehensible by our perception of animals in the current world.


    (Giant ground sloth)
    20 feet long (6 m.)

    Megalocerous giganteus
    (Giant Irish elk)
    7 feet high (2.1 m.)

    Mammuthus primigenius
    (Wooly mammoth)
    11.5 feet long (3.5 m.)

    Mammut americanum
    (American mastodon)
    8-10 feet high (2.5 – 3 m.)

    (Ancient armadillo)
    10 feet long (3 m.)

    Ursus spelaeus
    (Cave bear) Omnivore
    20 feet long

    (Large armadillo)
    13 feet long (4 m.)

    (Wooly rhinoceros)
    11 feet long (3.5 m.)

    Castoroides ohioensis
    (Giant beaver)
    3.3ft high (1 m.)

    Camelops hesternus
    (American camel)
    12 feet high (3.6 m.)


    Arctodus simus
    (Short faced bear)
    5.5 feet high (1.7 m.)

    Smilodon fatalis
    (Saber-toothed cat)
    4-5 feet long (1.2-1.5 m.)

    Canis dirus
    (Dire wolf)
    5 feet high (1.5 m.)

    Ursus spelaeus
    (Cave bear) Omnivore
    20 feet long

    Panthera leo spelaea
    (Cave lion)
    11.5 feet long (3.5 m.)


    this following video, in its notes, has many more references for fossil giants about half way down the list:

    Don Patton – Entropy, Information, and The ‘Deteriorating’ Fossil Record – video

  5. 5
    Joseph says:

    Hey, rabbits have huge hind limbs and short fore-limbs. T-Rex has huge hind limbs and short fore-limbs- therefor, using evotard “logic” of comparison anatomy, rabbits and T-Rex are related.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Joseph, there could be a peer-reviewed paper in that for you.

  7. 7
    DrREC says:

    Bio-Complexity might accept it.

  8. 8
    Joseph says:

    Have you observed rabbits when on their hind-limbs? Have you looked at renditions of T-Rex?

    Isn’t comparitive anatomy used to determine ancestral relationships?

  9. 9
    DrREC says:

    I think the comparisons might be a little more detailed, Joe.

    “Isn’t comparitive anatomy used to determine ancestral relationships?”

    Yes. T. rex and rabbits are both tetrapods. We could proceed from there, bringing in more species with more details, till we had a nice phylogeny. I

  10. 10
    Joseph says:

    Details? The theory of evolution doesn’t give a rat’s bottom about details.

    Large hinds limbs and short fore-limbs- that satisfies evolutionary details.

    Next I will show how T-Rex hopped after its prey…

  11. 11
    rhampton7 says:

    Careful Joseph – ID doesn’t address details either, and it doesn’t appear that the current generation of ID researchers are looking for them. Without an alternative, the details are only going to be provided by the rest of science.

  12. 12
    Joseph says:

    ID does NOT ahve the rsources your position does. But when ID does have those resources it is a safe bet that we will come up with something which would be far better than what your position has.

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