Good Guineas!

Brown and beige guinea pigs with greens
Who us?

Did you know that giant guinea pigs used to roam the Earth? I did not. Giant beavers the size of black bears? You bet. Giant ground sloths larger than an ox? Sure. But I had not heard of the giant guinea pig until today.

Just how gargantuan are we talking here? About as big as this guy:

American buffalo
Hi there. I’m a buffalo.

Yup. Pretty big.

These buffalo-sized rodents lived in South America about 800 million years ago. But its existence was only recently discovered by researchers 20 years ago while on a dig in the hot desert region of Venezuela. An area that experts say was once “a place of giants”—including turtles the size of cars and crocodiles as long as a school bus. Many of these super-sized species have just been discovered in recent years. What’s taken palaeontologists so long to unearth these colossal creatures? Well, this specific region’s conditions can make it tricky for finding fossils. But access to areas once considered unreachable, plus advancements in technology, have helped the field of palaeontology a ton.

Meanwhile, I just found out about the giant guinea pig today while searching the web for some other information on prehistoric life.

You just never know what you’re going to dig up.