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The modern warthog, which Metridiochoerus resembled (Wikimedia Commons)


Metridiochoerus (Greek for "frightful pig"); pronounced meh-TRID-ee-oh-CARE-us


Plains of Africa

Historical Epoch

Late Pliocene-Pleistocene (3 million-one million years ago)

Size and Weight

About 5 feet long and 200 pounds


Probably omnivorous

Distinguishing Characteristics

Moderate size; four tusks in upper jaw


About Metridiochoerus

Although its name is Greek for "frightful pig," and it's sometimes called the Giant Warthog, Metridiocheorus was a true runt among the multi-ton mammalian megafauna of Pleistocene Africa. The fact is that, at 200 pounds or so, this prehistoric porker was only slightly bigger than the still-extant African Warthog, albeit equipped with more dangerous-looking tusks. The fact that the African Warthog survived into the modern age, while the Giant Warthog went extinct, may have had something to with the latter's inability to survive times of scarcity (after all, a smaller mammal can endure famine for longer stretches than a larger one).


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