Speculative drawing of Plesiorycteropus
( Also referred to as Malagasy aardvark ) Plesiorycteropus is an extinct mammal species that lived on Madagascar and about 1000 years ago has died. It is more closely related to any other group of mammals - not even with the aardvarks - and is therefore placed in a separate family, Plesiorycteropodidae, and its own order, Bibymalagasia. The genus includes two known species, P. madagascariensis and P. germainepetterae.
Characteristics and lifestyle
Plesiorycteropus was significantly smaller than a Erdferkel, reaching a weight of 6 to 18 kg. Perhaps the genre was toothless, but no jaw or tooth remains were found so far. The limbs were provided with strong claws, which points to a grave lifestyle.
Habitat of these animals may have been primarily forests. With its sturdy, clawed forefeet the animals digging for food that is likely to have consisted mainly of insects and their larvae. It is unclear the extent to which the animals could climb trees, or rather were staying on the ground. Probably the sense of sight was only weak, however, excellent sense of smell.
The reasons for the extinction are not fully clarified. The island of Madagascar was first settled around 1500 years ago by people. Following this, there was a mass extinction of larger animals, from which, among other hippos, several primate groups (such as the Megaladapidae and Palaeopropithecinae ) and the giant elephant birds were affected. Most hunting and fire clearance are cited as the main cause for the extinction of these animals, possibly climatic changes ( drought related materiel to the decline of forests ) have accelerated their decline. The exact causes remain speculative, around 1000 years ago Plesiorycteropus but extinct.
Traditionally, Plesiorycteropus was considered a close relative of the aardvark and in the same order, the Röhrenzähner ( Tubulidentata ) provided. Occasionally, a relationship has been suggested with the insectivores, Xenarthra animals or pangolins. Ross MacPhee took before 1994 extensive studies of the preserved skeletal remains and concluded that Plesiorycteropus was not a close relative of the aardvark. Instead, he put it into a new mammalian order, which he called Bibymalagasia ( which literally means nothing more than " animals of Madagascar " means ). Today, one belonging to the Bibymalagasia superorder Afrotheria is assumed.