Up until recently, most paleontologists agreed that, at some point in our planet's history, a so-called killer walrus terrorized marine mammals living in present-day southern California.
Still, new evidence suggests that this walrus mainly ate fish, and constituted no major threat to other animals living in this area.
The researchers who argued in favor of the existence of this killer walrus based their claims on fossil-evidence that indicated that this animal used to have both an impressive jawbone and teeth not all that different from carnivores such as hyenas.
However, the discovery of new fossils, which happen to be better preserved than the ones previously found, led paleontologists to the conclusion that the Pelagiarctos was most likely a fish eater.
“This new find indicates that this enigmatic walrus would have appeared similar in life to modern sea lions, with a deep snout and large canines,” argued PhD student Robert Boessenecker, who looked into this issue together with specialist Morgan Churchill from the University of Wyoming.
Their findings were published in yesterday's issue of the scientific journal PLOS One.