The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American. Most noticeably, a pig’s canine teeth grow out and backward into … They have sharp, straight tusks that fit tightly together. These differences in the teeth are due to the fact that long-nosed peccaries lived in woodlands and ate mainly shrubs while flat-headed peccaries lived in open areas and ate coarser vegetation. Gestation period lasts for up to 150 days, yielding 1 - 5 young. His publications can be downloaded at darrennaish.wordpress.com. While obviously pig-like, they have fewer teeth than Sus, and the upper canines grow downwards instead of outwards or upwards. So what gives? The collared peccary (Pecari tajacu) lives in the southwestern United States, and south into Central and South America. In Brazil, these animals are known as "tajacus". It has stocky body and slender legs. Rafferty, K. L., Herring, S. W. & Marshall, C. D. 2003. - . Collared peccaries display very territorial behavior, marking their home ranges with special scent glands, found on their rump. These animals don't display a specific breeding season and instead may breed throughout the year. Currently, this species is recognized as a member of Tayassuidae family. 389-401. In Janis, C. M., Scott, K. M. & Jacobs, L. L. (eds) Evolution of Tertiary Mammals of North America. Peccaries are well known for having big, scary canines and they differ from pigs in that both the upper and lower canines are used in biting. 2), which they will click together to warn predator’s to steer clear. Males typically engage in harsh competition, which rarely results in mortality. Biotropica 14, 188-195. They are also highly social animals, gathering in considerably large groups of up to 50 individuals, led by a single alpha male, which mates with females of the group. They may also affect large carnivores populations (jaguar, puma, coyote), as items of prey. A long time ago there was a common ancestor to the javelina and the pigs we all know and love as bacon, but they diverged about 40 million years ago by most reckonings. Collared peccaries are diurnal creatures that are active during the daytime hours. Community members usually form close bonds between each other. Their jaws are equipped with extremely sharp teeth. These Peccaries have a rather large area of distribution, stretching from South America (northern Argentina) to Central America and as far north as the southern portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in the U.S. It has a collar of white or yellowish fur around its neck and small, straight tusks. Collared peccary is … Journal of Morphology 257, 33-44. van Roosmalen, M. G. M., Frenz, L., van Hooft, P. de Iongh, H. H. & Leirs, H. 2007. It’s surely relevant to stuff we’ll get to in a minute. These continuously rub against each other, creating razor-sharp edges. The age of reproductive maturity is 8 - 14 months old for females and 11 - 12 months old for males. We don’t know why sexual dimorphism was lost in the group (decreasing need to avoid niche overlap, perhaps due to declining diversity in contemporaneous megafauna? No, but it was a nice idea. I wonder if anyone has ever measured the bite strength of a peccary: the species aren’t all the same in terms of bite strength, as White-lipped peccaries seem to have a bite strength about 1.3 times greater than that of the Collared peccary (Kiltie 1982) and hence can deal with harder food items. Compared with the Old World pigs, collared peccary has smaller body and thinner legs. Kiltie didn’t propose that the canines were used to break open the food items, but rather that - like the bony stops around the jaw joint itself - their interlocking helped prevent dislocation of the joint when tremendous force was applied across the molars. In fact what’s almost bizarre is that fossil populations of the living species exhibit sexual dimorphism in canine size, meaning that the living populations lost dimorphism somewhere along the way. Because the upper and lower canines tightly interlock, peccaries are virtually incapable of moving the lower jaw from side-to-side when the jaws are closed. Discover world-changing science. The tightly aligned canine teeth of these animals constantly sharpen. All of the skull sutures in adult peccaries are completely closed, and in fact even juveniles exhibit closure of certain of the sutures ordinarily open in young mammals. Throughout their range, these animals are currently facing loss of their natural habitat. Cambridge University Press, pp. Collared peccary has large head with elongated snout and long, very sharp canine teeth (tusks) that protrude from the jaws. 1982. Collared peccaries exhibit a polygynous mating system, where a single alpha male mates with females of the group and defends his mating rights against other males of the area. Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. After a short while, the newborn peccaries begin following their mother. They also practice mutual grooming, which is thought to enhance interpersonal relationships. 2007) and remains the topic of debate. Their legs seem slender under their proportionally large bodies. Darren Naish is a science writer, technical editor and palaeozoologist (affiliated with the University of Southampton, UK). They are endemic to Nearctic and Neotropical regions. Wright, D. B. More specifically this is a collared peccary; there are two, maybe three other species of New World pig wandering around in Central and South America. 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