Otters are cute by its looks, and everyone loves to see them playing in the funniest manner. The cuteness is only associated with modern-day otters living in the rivers and seas, as the recently discovered now-extinct wolf-size otters which lived six million years ago were capable of giving deadly bites which could harm a person's life.
Even though these otters too had a cute little face, it weighed more than 110 pounds, and their jaws are very powerful to give the deadliest bite to its prey. These otters named Siamogale melilutra reportedly possessed wild instincts when compared to their modern-day counterparts. The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Buffalo led by Jack Tseng. Their study report is now available in the Journal 'Scientific Reports'.
The deadly predator
During the study, the researchers compared the strength of Siamogale melilutra's jawbones with its smaller relatives which live today. The team scanned lower jawbones of 11 different otter species and came to the conclusion that Siamogale melilutra possessed very strong jawbones capable of inflicting a deadly wound with a single bite.
"We started our study with the idea that this otter was just a larger version of a sea otter or an African clawless otter in terms of chewing ability, that it would just be able to eat much larger things," quoted Jack Tseng in the University of Buffalo website.
To get better results of the study, the team used 3D computer models to analyze the strength of Siamogale melilutra's bite. The strong jaws of Siamogale melilutra allowed it to hunt down mammals and birds, which made them the most dangerous predator of its era. Their jaws were also capable of crushing large shells allowing them to eat molluscs and urchins. On the contrary, the diet of modern-day otters include plants, fishes, and crabs.
"We don't know for sure, but we think that this otter was more of a top predator than living species of otters are. Our findings imply that Siamogale could crush much harder and larger prey than any living otter can," added Jack Tseng.
Even though the researchers found the bite deadly, they were not able to quantify the pressure exerted by the otter's single bite, as all their measurements were based on computer-generated simulations.