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, an extinct species of South American caviomorph rodent, is the largest rodent known, and lived from about 4 to 2 million years ago during the Pliocene to early Pleistocene.[notes 1] The species is one of two in the Josephoartigasia genus, the other being J. magna. J. monesi is sometimes called the giant pacarana, after its closest living relative, the pacarana (Dinomys branickii) in the family Dinomyidae. The species may have weighed a ton, considerably larger than its closest living relative, the pacarana
The rodent's fearsome front teeth and large size may have been used to fight over females for breeding rights and may also have helped defend against predators, including carnivorous marsupials, saber-toothed cats, short-faced bears and terror birds. The rodent may have lived in an estuarine environment or a delta system with forest communities, and may have eaten soft vegetation. It has been stated that J. monesi probably fed on aquatic plants and fruits, because its molars are small and not good for grass or other abrasive (vegetation). Larger mammals also have the advantage of access to low-quality food resources, such as wood, that smaller species are unable to digest. Finite element analysis was used to estimate the maximum bite force of J. monesi. This study concluded that the bite of J. monesi possibly generated up to 4165 N of force, three times as powerful as predicted for modern day tigers. The study also speculated that J. monesi behaved similarly to elephants, utilizing its incisors like tusks for digging or defense.