Extinct Badger-Like Weasel’s Diet: Meat & Side of Veggies

Updated March 28, 2019

A new research study co-authored by Jack Tseng, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences, examines the oddly shaped skull of an extinct weasel called Leptarctus primus. The study found that the animal was likely a carnivorous predator, with capability for omnivory and a broader diet when prey was scarce, and had a skull that functioned similarly to that of the living American badger. “For a mammal, its skull is really strange,” said Tseng, who also serves as a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History. “It’s heavily built — like a tank — with very thick zygomatic cheek bones. The top of its head looks like it’s wearing a helmet.”