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

  • What is Filipino architecture supposed to look like?
  • Dead Whale Found With 88 Pounds of Plastic Inside Body in the Philippines
  • The women who helped shape Philippine feminism
  • How to Retire in the Philippines
  • This play tells the urgent story of a Filipino comfort woman
  • Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7


  • This play tells the urgent story of a Filipino comfort woman
  • Will ‘Sahaya’ be the first Pinoy series on Netflix?
  • Z-GIRLS, Z-BOYS with Pinoy members to debut in Korea
  • Marvel Comics introduces new characters; Filipino superhero to make waves
  • ‘The first Pixnoys’: Filipinos will finally see themselves in Pixar short film
  • MORE...


  • Showcase of PH culture, heritage
  • US and Philippines: Friends, Partners, and Allies
  • A Transgender Paradox, and Platform, in the Philippines
  • The Box That Brings Christmas to the Philippines
  • ‘Pinoy Aquaman’ swims 23 kilometers for peace in Mindanao
  • MORE...


  • Philippines records ‘all-time high’ 7.1M tourist arrivals in 2018
  • Philippines island Boracay reopens for test run following huge cleanup
  • Philippines closes ‘cesspool’ tourist island of Boracay
  • Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • MORE...


  • Filipino speed skater bags spot in 2020 Winter Youth Olympics
  • Pinoy gymnast Carlo Yulo earns historic qualification in worlds
  • Finding a way to bring the NBA to the Philippines
  • First Filipino table tennis Olympian Ian “Yanyan” Lariba dies at 23
  • Skateboarder Margielyn Didal wins 4th gold for Philippines
  • 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 Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • 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
  • MORE...

    Pinoy Places
    and Faces