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Extinct Pinckney's Capybara (Neochoerus pinckneyi) Fact Sheet: Summary

Extinct Pinckney's Capybara (Neochoerus pinckneyi)

Archived Content

Disclaimer: Fact sheets on prehistoric (extinct) species contain archived content and are no longer being updated. At the time of publication, these pages summarized the best available science. However, some content may become outdated as scientists report new discoveries.

Extinct Pinckney's Capybara (Neochoerus pinckneyi) Fact Sheet

Extinct Pinckney's Capybara
Extinct Pinkney's capybara, Neochoerus pinckneyi

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Rodentia

Family: Hydrochoeridae

Subfamily: Hydrochoerinae

Genus: Neochoerus

Species: Neochoerus pinckneyi - extinct

Genus: Hydrochaeris

Species: Hydrochaeris gaylordi - extinct

Species: Hydrochaeris holmesi - extinct

Species: Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris - extant

Species: Hydrochaeris isthmius - extant

Body Length: estimated 108 cm (6 ft)

Tail Length: vestigal

Pelage: not known but probably coarse and sparse,similar to modern capybara.

Teeth: lower incisors more compressed than in living capybara.

Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology

Prehistoric distribution: Neochoerus pinckneyi: southern U.S, West Indies, Central America, Mexico

Habitat: near fresh water, like modern capybara

Status: extinct

Locomotion: Similar anatomy to living capybara implies non-specialized but good swimming ability as well as walking, and occasional trotting, gallopping.

Social Groups: assumed to be gregarious.

Diet: primarily grasses

Predators: most likely medium to large extinct and dogs, teratorns, anaconda.

Reproduction & Development Species Highlights

Feature Facts

  • An extinct Ice Age capybara, species undetermined, has been discovered in Southern California from 200,000 year-old lake sediments. Several other water-loving animals including tapir, pond turtle, frog, and water birds were discovered in nearby rocks of the same age. Together these fossils indicate a wet habitat there at that time.

About This Fact Sheet

© 2009 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

How to cite: Extinct Pinckney's Capybara (Neochoerus pinchkneyi) Fact Sheet. c2009. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. extinctpinckeyscapybara.
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

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