The authors say the animal would have lived alongside carnivorous “terror birds” and sabre-toothed cats.
“If you are a rodent you cannot run so well so you would have had to fight with these predators,” said Dr Rudemar Ernesto Blanco of the Institute of Physics in Montevideo, Uruguay, one of the authors of the paper.
“It might have reached this size to protect itself.”
To protect itself. Yet another example of one of my pet peeves when dealing with evolution. The idea that the species somehow adopted a certain form “in order to” respond to its environment. As in, due to the size and number of predators, this rodent made itself larger to increase its own survivability.
Perhaps it was merely a symantical gaff, but, this sort of thing seems to happen quite often. Why not just roll with the idea that at some point in pre-history, there grew some pretty honkin big rodent critters? Why try to fold in this idea that the size was some situational or environmental “reponse?”
And, as I have repeatedly ask, can someone please point to the mechanism whereby this giant wombat someone “detected” the presence of large predators and thereby proceeded to reprogram its own DNA to grow larger in response?