Pre Castor fiber
With the research carried out by umpteen others and the help of my wee bible, Andrew Kitchener’s “Beaver”, and I know that sounds so wrong, I thought I’d share a few wee snippits of little known facts.
Beavers, or a form of such, have been around for roughly 35 million years and the first known fossils were discovered in Wyoming. These beasties were named by the boffins as Agnotocastor galushai. The beaver family then dispersed (as they do) into Europe and Asia, of which 24 genera of beaver are known to exist around that period (late Oligocene), one of which was castor. Today’s Eurasian species dates from from less than 2 million years ago, but strange as it sounds, the Canadian/American beaver has been around for only half of that. That comment in itself beggars belief, however we in the UK have been absent of these creatures in Scotland for 400 yrs or so, and in England probably 500 yrs but Canada stopped the rot just in time as far as hunting was concerned. I will cover more on the hunting aspect in later posts.
Present day beavers weigh in on average 18kg for fiber (Eurasian) and 17kg for canadensis (Canadian/American). However, there was once a monster beaver known as Castoroides ohiooensis. This godzilla of a beaver was almost as large as a present day Black Bear, weighing in at close to, if not more than 200 kg and 2.5 m long!!!!! One big tree muncher to say the least. However, it’s brain was only as big as present day beaver, so regardless of size it was still not the sharpest tool in the box!!!