Clues about the insular gigantism...

New outreach publication about the giants from the Mediterranean Islands is out!


2/27/20241 min read

Last December, I published an outreach article in the renowned journal The Conversation (Spanish edition) entitled "The extinct giants from the Mediterranean Islans". You can read it here.

In the article, several of the most awesome cases of gigantism are presented. In the case of rabbits, we have the colossus Nuralagus rex, which weighted around 8 kilograms. In addition to its size, the other most surpsing fact of this extinct giant is that it could run nor jump!

The giant lagomorph that I have studied more is Prolagus sardus, the extinct Sardinian 'pika' (Middle Pleistocene to Roman times). Although it seems that it was not very large at first glance (less than 1 kilogram), it quadruples the size of extant pikas. In addition, its large abundance kas let us to take a lot of studies deepening into its paleobiology. The most important thing of P. sardus is that it was a long-lived species (at least of a minimum longevity of 8 years) and, similary to the case of Nurlagus, was not good a runner.

Finally, I highlighted in the article the awesome moon-rat Deinogalerix that lived in the paleoisland of Gargano (now, part of the Italian mainland) during the Late Miocene. It size was around 5 kilograms, with a very large head and robust and short limbs. The incisors were very sharp and the molars massive. Though this terrifying dentition, the base of the diet of Deinogalerix were insects and carrion. In addition, Deinogalerix had a very good smell and ear!

Which are the drivers and mechanisms of these changes?

Clues in the article! Do not forget to read it!

Article of The Conservation, entitled "Los gigantes extintos de las islas mediterráneas"Article of The Conservation, entitled "Los gigantes extintos de las islas mediterráneas"