European Clawless Otter
16 aug. 2020
The genus of Aonyx is still extant and represents a single species from Africa: the African Clawless Otter. Three extinct species (so far) are known to this genus and it consists of large-sized otters. Besides Africa, they also lived in Europe and South-eastern Asia with the oldest fossils dating from the Pliocene. These otters were bound to both freshwater and saline habitats and probably fed on shells and crustaceans.
Pliocene to Holocene
Fossils from the European Clawless Otter are known from several European countries, ranging from the UK to Italy, and date back to approximately the Early Pleistocene epoch. They could grow up to 90 cm in length and closely resembled the extant European otter. The main differences are its slightly flattened forehead and flat teeth covered with small knobs. These were probably used to crush shells of molluscs, crabs and lobsters.
Van Bree, P. J. H., Erdbrink, D. B., & Roescher, F. J. (1999). A second find of Aonyx antiquus in the Netherlands, and some remarks on Aonyx and allied forms (Mammalia, Carnivora, Mustelidae). Deinsea, 7(1), 313-324.