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Extinct Pinckney's Capybara (Neochoerus pinckneyi) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat

Extinct Pinckney's Capybara (Neochoerus pinckneyi)

How Do We Know This?

Scientists use knowledge of the earth's rocks, global plate movements, and the chemical process of fossilization to make sense of fossil distribution patterns and ancient habitats.



Prehistoric Distribution

  • Neochoerus fossils
    • From Florida to southern Texas, Arizona, South Carolina, West Indies, Central America, Mexico (Kurtén 1980) (Flynn et al 2005)
  • Hydrochaeris fossils
    • Island of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles
    • Hydrochoerus sp. (=Hydrochaeris) in Columbia and Bolivia
  • A Late Pleistocene capybara was discovered 1995 in southern California near Oceanside. (Deméré 2006)
    • This 200,000 year-old fossil is the only one known from California


Fossil capybara are so similar to modern capybara anatomy that researchers assume they too needed habitats near plentiful fresh water.

Fossil capybara are typically found in geologic setting that indicate rivers, streams, lakes, marshes.

Page Citations

Casteñada & Miller (2004)
Deméré (2006)
Flynn et al (2005)
Kurtén (1980)

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