Name: Metridiochoerus ‭(‬Frightful pig‭)‬.
Phonetic: Met-rid-oh-koe-rus.
Named By: Hopwood‭ ‬-‭ ‬1926.
Synonyms: Tapinochoerus.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Artiodactyla,‭ ‬Suidae.
Species: M.‭ ‬andrewsi‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬modestus.‭ ‬Possibly also M.‭ ‬compactus,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬hopwoodi,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬jacksoni M.‭ ‬meadowsi.
Diet: Omnivore.
Size: About‭ ‬1.5‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Africa,‭ ‬particularly Eastern countries such as Ethiopia,‭ ‬Kenya and Tanzania,‭ ‬but also known from more distant African countries.
Time period: Late Pliocene to Pleistocene.
Fossil representation: Multiple specimens numbering in the hundreds.

       Although often called the‭ ‘‬giant warthog‭’‬,‭ ‬Metridiochoerus was actually around the same size as a large African warthog‭ (‬Phacochoerus africanus‭)‬.‭ ‬Metridiochoerus however had four enlarged tusks that grew from the upper jaw which grew to the sides while also curving upwards.‭ ‬Another similar‭ ‬detail‭ ‬with the modern warthog is that Metridiochoerus also seems to have been an omnivore,‭ ‬an idea proposed from the complicated structure of the teeth which would have been suitable for a variety of different foods rather than a specific purpose.‭ ‬This would indicate that Metridiochoerus fulfilled a similar ecological niche to the African warthog,‭ ‬primarily feeding upon grasses,‭ ‬berries,‭ ‬bark and roots,‭ ‬but also incorporating meat when it came across carrion as well.
       Because Metridiochoerus seems to be so similar to the African warthog there is even greater mystery as to why Metridiochoerus‭ ‬went extinct‭ ‬while the African warthog lived.‭ ‬It is often observed that no two animals can occupy the same niche in an ecosystem and when this does happen both animals live in reduced populations compared to others that dominate their niche.‭ ‬It could be that the balance between the two was somehow tipped in favour of the African warthog over Metridiochoerus.‭ ‬This could possibly be because the often smaller size of the African warthog which today’s ranges from‭ ‬0.9‭ ‬to‭ ‬1.5‭ ‬meters long may have allowed it to develop a larger population which then started to edge Metridiochoerus out.‭ ‬This however is but simple conjecture and further research and study over the coming years will likely reveal a more complete picture of ancient African ecosystems.


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