Meet the Scholar & Hippo-Like Creature That Roamed Ancient OC

Gabriel-Philip Santos

CSUF graduate student Gabriel-Philip Santos and the desmostylian fossil. Photo by Eric Scott.

New research is shedding light on a long extinct California species known as desmostylian. It looked like a hippo and lived along the coast between 8 and 12 million years ago.

Little is known about these lumbering mammals that once romped through local waters, but scientists have pieced together some key details.

For instance, analysis of fossilized teeth show they were plant eaters. A recent study from paleontologists at Cal State Fullerton suggests they also may have lost their teeth as they aged.

"Kind of like how some humans loose all their teeth as they get older," remarked study author and CSUF graduate student Gabriel-Philip Santos.

This finding is based on a unique desmostylian jawbone discovered in 1996, near the 241-toll road in Mission Viejo.

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Related story: CSUF News Service

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