Named By: Gerhard Storch - 1978.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, pholidota, Manidae.
Species: E. waldi, E. krebsi.
Size: Around 50 centimetres long.
Known locations: Germany - Messel Pit.
Time period: Ypresian of the Eocene.
Fossil representation: At least two specimens.
name Eomanis is a reference to how this ancient
pangolin appeared long
before the genus Manis, the only known genus of
pangolin that is
alive today. Unless future discoveries prove otherwise, Eomanis
the first known scaled pangolin, though the scales seem to have
covered only the body and not the legs and tail like in modern forms.
Like with modern forms, these scales were probably made from
keratin (the same substance as human fingernails) and were soft
in new-borns, eventually turning harder in adults. Although
pangolins are today regarded as being insectivores which specialise in
eating ants, the stomach contents of Eomanis
include plants. This
discovery indicates that ancestors of pangolins may have been stricter
herbivores that specialised over time, perhaps from consuming large
quantities of insects as they fed upon certain plants.
Another ant eating mammal from the Messel Pit of Germany is Eurotamandua, which although initially described as a xenarthran anteater, is now widely considered to be a pangolin or pangolin-like relative of Eomanis. Speculation about Eomanis and Eurotamandua has in the past gone even further than this to suggest that the two genera are actually one and the same with Eurotamandua being the fully grown adult form of Eomanis. If confirmed, Eurotamandua would be become a synonym to Eomanis since this genus was named by Gerhard Storch around three years after he named Eomanis.