July 23, 2024


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The oldest known English “hippopotamus” is over a million years old

The oldest known English “hippopotamus” is over a million years old

A team of researchers has recently identified a new fossil of the extinct hippopotamus in Somerset, England. Dated a million years ago, this is the oldest evidence of this species being found in England.

New record in Great Britain

European hippopotamus (Hippopotamus) A type of hippo that lived in Europe. Appeared about 1.8 million years ago and disappeared shortly before the last ice age, can be found from the Iberian Peninsula to the British Isles, Rhine and Greece. Imagine a mammal similar to the modern hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), But very stuffing. Similar to this Hippopotamus corkops, Another endangered species, it is about four meters long and weighs up to three tons.

As a part of Study Recently, a team of archaeologists led by Neil Adams of the University of Leicester examined a hippopotamus (Hippopotamus) Westbury Cave, found in Somerset (England). This work was able to find the fossil. According to the authors, this tooth may have formed there 1.1 to 1 million years. So far in England the oldest fossil of this species has been dated around 750,000 years.

Hippopotamus (size = 2 cm) Credit: Royal Holloway, University of London

The UK is still hot enough to migrate

Researchers still do not know much about Britain’s flora, fauna and environment 1.8 to 0.8 million years ago. The first humans Began to occupy Europe. This new invention helps to fill this gap. During this time, the United Kingdom experienced periods of warm and humid weather that allowed hippos to migrate south from the Mediterranean to the south of England.

The erosion caused by the arrival and trend of ice, as well as the gradual improvement of the land, have removed most of the deposits of this era in Great Britain. ” Emphasize teachers. “Our comparisons with sites across Europe show that Westbury Cave is a significant exception, and this new hippo is coming from us Warm period not previously recognized in the British fossil record“.

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Keep in mind that many species of megafuna (over a ton) tolerate temperature fluctuations well. We now know that modern hippos cannot cope with frozen waters, even seasonally. Their The ancestors were also apparently wary of metabolism.

In the fossil record, these animals are actually found only during climate warming in Great Britain. Back then, summer temperatures were slightly warmer than they are today, while winter temperatures were above freezing.