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Ancient giant beavers did not chow on trees

Now-extinct animals had a hippo-like diet

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4:50pm, October 22, 2009

PORTLAND, Ore. — Behemoth beavers that lived in North America during the last ice age ate little if any material from trees, a new analysis suggests.

The extinct giant beaver, Castoroides ohioensis, was just one species of large animals, or megafauna, stalking the North American landscape near the end of the last ice age. Fossils indicate that the creature was about twice the size of its modern-day cousin and therefore weighed between 60 and 100 kilograms, says Catherine Yansa, a paleoecologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

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