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A prehistoric animal? No, this wild pig lives well with us. It is a babiroussa, a “pig-deer” in Malay, an Austronesian language spoken in particular in Indonesia. Until 2002, it was considered that there was only one species of babiroussa. But today, babiroussas are considered a genus divided into three species. In these, the females resemble a domestic sow. But males have very surprising characteristics.
Their front tusks are long canines coming out of their mouths. Even more surprising: their upper teeth pushing upwards and thus piercing their snout to erect a second row of tusks. To date, the exact function of these defenses remains unknown. They do not use them to search the earth or to fight. Even if they spend a large part of their time fighting, the males prefer to use their front legs rather than taking the risk of breaking their fragile defenses. A male with damaged tusks will indeed have less chance of reproducing.
Today, the three babiroussa species are in danger of extinction and their population is declining.