Extinct Dwarf Buffalo Discovered

(via National Geographic) An extinct species of pygmy water buffalo that once lived in the Philippines has been discovered—thanks to people’s need to do household chores.

Filipino mining engineer Michael Armas found an unusual set of fossils about 40 years ago as he was excavating a hillside on the island of Cebu (Philippines map) 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.

Eventually the bones were delivered to the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. People often bring bones to the museum hoping they’ve made a rare find, museum curator Lawrence Heaney told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“Most of the time it’s pork chops from somebody’s dinner, that sort of thing,” Heaney said. But this time the delivery bore fruit.

The bones, the scientists found, belonged to a species of water buffalo that probably lived between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago. The tiny bovine, seen in color in this artist’s conception, stood up to 2.5 feet (0.7 meter) tall and weighed about 350 pounds (160 kilograms).

The extinct creatures were similar to a modern species of small water buffalo that lives on the nearby Philippines island of Mindoro. That animal—the middle outline in the drawing—reaches about 3 feet (0.9 meter) tall. It is related to the Asian water buffalo—the topmost outline—an even larger modern species that stands about 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall and can weigh up to a ton.

“Finding this new species is a great event in the Philippines,” Angel Bautista, of the National Museum of the Philippines, said in a press release. “Only a few fossils of elephants, rhinos, pig, and deer have been found here previously. We have wonderful living biodiversity, but we have known very little about our extinct species from long ago.”

And the find carries special significance, the Field Museum’s experts suggest, 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.

Island dwarfing is one of the competing explanations for the famous “hobbit” human fossils found in 2003 on the Philippines island of Flores. The fossils represent a distinct species of human that stood only 3.3 feet (1 meter) tall and lived at the same time as modern humans, some 13,000 years ago, the hobbits’ discoverers say.

Find more like this: NoteWorthy


  1. Ariel says:

    Flores island is in Indonesia

  • House approves divorce bill on final reading
  • 3 killed, 23 injured in Manila Pavilion fire
  • 10 dead as light plane crashes in Bulacan
  • Nursing graduate tops board exams twice
  • Duterte Pulls Philippines Out Of International Criminal Court
  • Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7


  • CLOSEUP: ‘Lion King’ to include Pinoy flavor in world-class show
  • ‘Riverdale’ stars call out PH magazine for ‘disrespectful’ photoshop editing
  • Pixar’s first female supervising animator is Pinoy
  • Miss Great Britain training for Miss Universe with Pinoy coaches
  • The story behind the Pinoy-made ‘tsinelas’ action figures
  • MORE...


  • The Box That Brings Christmas to the Philippines
  • ‘Pinoy Aquaman’ swims 23 kilometers for peace in Mindanao
  • Former Pinoy dishwasher now owner of pizzeria in Italy
  • Women’s servitude blights Philippine society
  • Filipino hikers seen picking up litter praised widely by HK netizens
  • MORE...


  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • El Nido to impose daily visitor limits in 3 iconic tourist sites
  • Philippines starts building world’s first resort airport
  • aurumOne Makati Hotel – ‘Perfectly Simple’
  • Palawan is world’s top island; Boracay 12th
  • MORE...


  • Gilas beats Japan again in FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers
  • 2018 Winter Olympics: Philippines’ Asa Miller lands 70th in giant slalom
  • Michael Christian Martinez: Olympian and pioneer in Philippine figure skating
  • Basketball’s greatest show comes to Philippines
  • Laker Jordan Clarkson: ‘It feels good to be Filipino’
  • MORE...

    OFW News

  • DOLE suspends OFW deployment to Kuwait
  • Some OFWs turn to vlogging to beat loneliness, share life abroad
  • Overseas Filipino Bank to serve immigrants, workers
  • The ‘bagong bayani’ of the Philippines
  • Which countries pay OFWs the highest?
  • MORE...


  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • Luzon has greatest concentration of unique mammals
  • Mindanao plants 3M trees in an hour, challenges world record
  • Fighting for sharks in the Philippines
  • DENR to crush seized elephant tusks, drops ceremonial burning
  • MORE...

    Pinoy Places
    and Faces