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Vishnuonyx Fossils

Vishnuonyx:

Between 12.5 million and 14 million years ago, members of a genus of otters called Vishnuonyx lived in the major rivers of southern Asia.

  • Fossils of these now extinct otters were first discovered in sediments found in the foothills of the Himalayas. Now, a newly found fossil indicates it had travelled as far as Germany. The discovery has been described in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
  • Researchers from the Universities of Tübingen and Zaragoza have discovered the fossil of a previously unknown species, which they have named Vishnuonyx neptuni, meaning ‘Neptune’s Vishnu’.
  • The species was discovered from a 11.4-million-year-old strata in the area of Hammerschmiede, which is a fossil site in Bavaria, Germany that has been studied for about 50 years.
  • This is the first discovery of any member of the Vishnuonyx genus in Europe; it is also its most northern and western record till date.
  • Vishnuonyx were mid-sized predators that weighed, on average, 10-15 kg.
  • Before this, the genus was known only in Asia and Africa (recent findings show that Vishnuonyx reached East Africa about 12 million years ago.

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