Josephoartigasia monesi was a giant rodent that lived in South America around 3 million years ago. It was like a capybara on steroids – it weighed up to a ton and was as big as a buffalo. While most rodents today use their characteristic incisors to gnaw on tough plant matter, Josephoartigasia may have used them for a different purpose.
Researches from the University of York and the Hull York Medical School investigated the bite strength of the giant rodent. Using computer modelling, they were able to create a virtual replica of its skull and find out that it could produce a lot of force with each bite – around 1400 N, which is similar to a tiger’s.