Behemotops proteus

25,000,000 BCE
RBCM EH 2007.008.0001
Scientific Name:
Behemotops proteus

These are the jaw and teeth from a Behemotops proteus a species of largely aquatic mammals, belonging to the only extinct group of marine mammals – the desmostylids – that disappeared in the Miocene Epoch. Some desmostylians reached 1.8 m long and weighed more than 200 kilograms.

Behemotops proteus ate shoreline plants. It probably spent much of its time in shallow bays and estuaries, and could stand and walk on land. With its massive limbs and short tail, it looked like a hippopotamus. However it was more closely related to sea cows and dugongs (sirenians) or elephants.

Bones of this large aquatic mammal were found in 2007 at Sombrio Beach, Vancouver Island, and donated by keen-eyed campers A. Wyngaards, V. Saly and J. Hosteller. These remains were preserved on the shoreline in rocks from the Oligocene Epoch, and are about 25 million years old.

This object selected by Dr Richard Hebda.