Cebu Reporter's Blog

A reporter's ramblings on the latest news and happenings in Cebu

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

10,000 yr. old fossil of extinct dwarf buffalo discovered in Cebu

The website of the National Geographic Society revealed that a fossil of an extinct dwarf buffalo, which probably lived between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago, was found on a hillside in Cebu and was left untouched 40 years after it was discovered.

According to a news item of the, the fossil that sat for 40 years inside a jar owned by Filipino mining engineer Michael Armas was confirmed to be that of the extinct species of pygmy water buffalo that once lived only in the Philippines.

The tiny bovine stood up to 2.5 feet (0.7 meter) tall and weighed about 350 pounds (160 kilograms), the website said. The find carries special significance because it could offer insight into a phenomenon called island dwarfing, a process in which large species confined to isolated islands tend to grow smaller due to fewer resources, said the National Geographic news item

Filipino mining engineer Michael Armas found the unusual set of fossils about 40 years ago as he was excavating a hillside on the island of Cebu looking for phosphate, a naturally occurring compound used in detergents and fertilizers. He took the fossils home with him, where they sat in a jar for several years.


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