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Nuralagus
Temporal range: Messinian – Pliocene
33588.jpg
A life restoration of Nuralagus rex
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Subfamily: Leporidae
Genus: Nuralagus
Quintana et al., 2011
Species: N. rex
Binomial name
Nuralagus rex
Quintana et al., 2011

Nuralagus occasionally called the Minorcan giant lagomorph, was a genus of large rabbit that lived in the island of Minorca from the Messinian until around the middle of the Pliocene, when it became extinct (5 to 3 million years ago) when Majorca and Minorca were united as one island, letting the goat-like ungulate Myotragus balearicus colonize Nuralagus's habitat.

DescriptionEdit

Nuralagus was very different from modern rabbits. With a height of half a meter and an estimated weight of 12 kg (26 lb), the species differed in size from all other noted fossils, and currently existing leporids. Nuralagus was six times the weight of the extant European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and could weigh up to 23 kg (51 lb) It had a comparatively small skull and small sensory receptors. The small eyes and ears of this species are unlike those of modern rabbits. Nuralagus rex had a short stiff spine which resulted in low mobility and inability to jump. Due to the absence of predators on Minorca, this rabbit experienced what has been called the “island rule”. This rule states that big animals living on an island with scarce resources tend to evolve smaller and small animals living with no predators tend to evolve larger.

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