New Peccary Findings at Cartagena!

jaw smallToday at Cartagena “hill,” the cohort [..Jorge] encountered two peccary findings about 500 feet away from each other: an isolated third molar and a partial lower jaw.


jacket smallThese were the only finds for the day, but the intact jaw and preservation of both the jaw and the individual tooth were really exciting.



Modern Chacoan Peccary in the Phoenix, AZ zoo. Photo courtesy of Dave Pape, via wikimedia.

Peccaries are a “New-World Pig,” omnivorous small mammals that still live in North America today. The genus of peccary found in these Miocene deposits, Cynorca, means “dog-whale.” We are unsure why.


We used the low rounded cusps of this molar to identify it as a peccary. Peccaries are omnivores, and this shape of tooth [similar to humans] is used for slicing tough plant material like roots, and crushing hard plant material like seeds.

tooth in hand small

This isolated molar can be identified as a lower molar because of its long, rectangular shape. The proportions of an upper molar would be more of a square. Generally 3rd molars also have an extra posterior cusp when compared to the anterior molars and premolars which have only two cusps.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s