Temporal range: Messinian–Pliocene
|From left to right, right femurs of Myotragus, Minorcan lagomorph, and modern European rabbit|
Quintana et al., 2011
|Species:||† N. rex|
|† Nuralagus rex
Quintana et al., 2011
The Minorcan giant lagomorph, Nuralagus rex, is an extinct rabbit that lived in the island of Minorca from the Messinian until around the middle of the Pliocene, when it became extinct ( ) when Majorca and Minorca were united as one island, letting the goat-like ungulate Myotragus balearicus colonize Nuralagus's habitat.
Fossils have been found of individuals which could have weighed up to 23 kg (50 lbs), although the estimated average body mass of the species is about 12 kg. They had small ears, tiny eyes, short legs and a short straight rigid vertebral column, very unlike their living relatives.
According to paleontologist Josep Quintana Cardona, N. rex didn't hop much if at all, as evident by its relatively short stiff spine. No fossil remains of any rabbit eating predators have been found, so it is suggested that without predators they did not need to maintain speed and agility, and could evolve to larger sizes.
- Jennifer Vegas (March 21, 2011). "Biggest-ever bunny didn't hop, had no enemies". Discovery News. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
- Josep Quintana, Meike Köhler & Salvador Moyà-Solà (2011). "Nuralagus rex, gen. et sp. nov., an endemic insular giant rabbit from the Neogene of Minorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31 (2): 231–240. doi:10.1080/02724634.2011.550367.
- "Nuralagus rex: giant extinct rabbit that didn't hop". Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. March 22, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
- "Giant ancestor to the Easter bunny had small ears and no hop". Animal Planet. March 22, 2011. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
- Susan Milius (2011). "Supersized superbunny: fossil find reveals a giant rabbit that dug for a living". Science News 179 (9): 18.
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