The Biggest Rabbit Ever

The idea of giant bunny rabbits may remind you of Night of the Lepus, but this is no movie -it's prehistory. A new species called the Minorcan King of the Rabbits (Nuralagus rex) has been discovered on the island of Minorca. It weighed over 26 pounds and had rather small ears compared to rabbits we know today. These rabbits flourished on the Mediterranean island between 5 and 3 million years ago.
"N. rex was a very robust and peculiar rabbit," project leader Josep Quintana told Discovery News. "Surely he was a very calm and peaceful animal that moved with slow, but powerful, movements."

Quintana, a scientist at the Catalan Institute of Paleontology, and colleagues Meike Kohler and Salvador Moya-Sola describe the giant fossil rabbit in a Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology paper. They believe the rabbit lost the ability to hop, because the long, springy spine typical of modern bunnies was replaced by a short, stiff backbone.

The researchers think N. rex spent most of its days peacefully digging, searching for roots and tubers to eat.

Link -via The Daily What

(Image credit: Meike Köhler)

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There's probably no way to tell what length the N. Rex's ears were, is there? I would guess that ears would tend to be shorter that long ago, but how does the fossil record prove it?
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