Named By: Gerhard Stroch - 1981.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Afredentata, Eurotamanduidae.i.
Species: E. joresi.
Size: Around 90 centimetres long.
Known locations: Germany - Messel Pit.
Time period: Late Ypresian of the Eocene.
Fossil representation: Single but almost complete specimen.
acquired its name from its similarity to the modern day Tamandua,
better known as an ‘anteater’. However, the Tamandua
member of the Xenarthra, and although Eurotamandua
assigned to this group, more modern thinking and analysis leans more
towards Eurotamandua being a pangolin. Although
still similar, this
would mean that Eurotamandua possibly had
keratinous scales covering
the body rather than a thick coat of fur like anteaters have. This
has also given rise to the idea that another extinct genus called
is actually a juvenile of Eurotamandua.
If proven then this
would see Eurotamandua become a synonym to Eomanis,
means the Eurotamandua specimen will be renamed as
one for Eomanis.
Further support for this idea comes from the fact that both
Eurotamandua and Eomanis are
known from the same fossil deposit.
Classification issues aside, we can be almost one hundred percent certain about the lifestyle of Eurotamandua. The snout of Eurotamandua is long, toothless and with weak jaw closing muscles. These are exactly the same key skull features found in other anteaters, with further evidence for a specialised ant eating diet coming from numerous remains of ants that were preserved along with the Eurotamandua type specimen. Eurotamandua also had large and robust claws that would have easily ripped open ant nests so that Eurotamandua could flick out their long tongues and consume large quantities of ants. It is also possible that Eurotamandua may have been able to use these claws for climbing trees in order to keep out of the way of ground dwelling predators.