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Giant peccary

Giant peccary
Not recognized (IUCN 3.1)[1]
Scientific classification (disputed)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Tayassuidae
Genus: Pecari
Species: P. maximus
Binomial name
Pecari maximus
Roosmalen et al., 2007

The giant peccary (Pecari maximus) is a possible fourth species of peccary, discovered in Brazil in 2000 by Dutch naturalist Marc van Roosmalen. In 2003, he and German natural history filmmaker Lothar Frenz succeeded in filming a group and gathering material, which later would serve as the type. Though recently reported, it has been known to locals as caitetu munde, which means "great peccary which lives in pairs". It was formally described in 2007,[2] but the scientific evidence for its species status has later been questioned,[3][4] which also was one of the reasons for its initial evaluation as data deficient by IUCN in 2008. Following a review in 2011,[5] the IUCN moved the giant peccary into synonymy of the collared peccary (P. tajacu).[1]

The reported range of the giant peccary encompass the south-central Amazon between the Madeira and the Tapajós River and north Bolivia,[6] reaching the east side of the Madidi National Park. It is restricted to Terra Firme forest. Unlike other peccaries in its range, the giant peccary was reported to mainly occur in pairs or small family groups.[2]

According to its original description, the giant peccary is larger, longer-legged, and proportionally smaller-headed than the only other member of the genus, the collared peccary.[2] Compared to the sympatric populations of the collared peccary, the giant peccary also has thinner fur that is grizzled in brown and white, blacker legs, and a relatively faint collar. Five skins of the giant peccary had a total length of 120–137 cm (47–54 in), while local hunters have estimated a weight of 40–50 kg (88–110 lb). Based on mtDNA, the collared and the giant peccaries are estimated to have diverged 1.0–1.2 million years ago,[2] but these results have been considered questionable due to the low bootstrap support, small sample size, and the absence of nDNA and cytogenetic results.[1][4] In 2011, a review noted that the measurements provided in the initial description were within those generally recognized for the collared peccary, and the behaviors supposedly unique to the giant peccary are also known from the collared peccary.[5] They also provided new genetic evidence showing that collared peccaries from South America form a monophyletic clade that includes the giant peccary (without it the clade is paraphyletic). The major genetic split within the collared peccary is between a clade comprising North and Central American specimens, and a clade comprising South American specimens (the presumed contact zone is in Colombia, which has both clades).[5] Furthermore, extensive intraspecific variations (both individual and locality-based) are known in the morphology of the collared peccary.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c d Gongora, J., Reyna-Hurtado, R., Beck, H., Taber, A., Altrichter, M. & Keuroghlian, A. (2011). "Pecari tajacu".  
  2. ^ a b c d Roosmalen, M.G.M.; Frenz, L.; Hooft, W.F. van; Iongh, H.H. de; Leirs, H. 2007. A New Species of Living Peccary (Mammalia: Tayassuidae) from the Brazilian Amazon. Bonner zoologische Beitrage 55(2): 105–112.
  3. ^ Trials of a Primatologist. – Accessed March 15, 2008
  4. ^ a b c Gongora, J., Taber, A., Keuroghlian, A., Altrichter, M., Bodmer, R.E., Mayor, P., Moran, C., Damayanti, C.S., González S. (2007). Re-examining the evidence for a ‘new’ peccary species, ‘Pecari maximus’, from the Brazilian Amazon. Newsletter of the Pigs, Peccaries, and Hippos Specialist Group of the IUCN/SSC. 7(2): 19–26.
  5. ^ a b c Gongora, J., Biondo, C., Cooper, J.D., Taber, A., Keuroghlian, A., Altrichter, M., Ferreira do Nascimento, F., Chong, A.Y., Miyaki, C.Y., Bodmer, R., Mayor, P. and González, S. (2011). Revisiting the species status of Pecari maximus van Roosmalen et al., 2007 (Mammalia) from the Brazilian Amazon. Bonn Zoological Bulletin 60(1): 95-101.
  6. ^ Moravec, J., & Böhme, W. (2009). Second Find of the Recently Discovered Amazonian Giant Peccary, Pecari maximus (Mammalia: Tayassuidae) van Roosmalen et al., 2007: First Record from Bolivia. Bonner zoologische Beiträge 56(1-2): 49-54.

External links

  • "Big Pig-Like Beast Discovered" from LiveScience.
  • Forscher entdecken neuen Großsäuger, GEO magazine (in German)
  • Info on the recently discovered Giant Peccary
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