|[Image: Nobu Tamura]|
The scientific name, Nuralagus rex, roughly translates as 'Rabbit King of Minorca', because nura is the ancient Phoenician name for the island of Minorca, lagos is the Greek word for 'hare' or 'rabbit', while rex 'means 'king'.
This 'rabbit king of Minorca' lived approximately 3 to 5 million years ago and may be one of the oldest known cases of the 'island rule' in mammals. This rule states that when on islands, big animals will get smaller and small animals will get bigger.
The researchers found that this giant rabbit had also lost its ability to hop. The long springy spine of a mainland rabbit was replaced by a short, stiff spine that would make jumping difficult. Instead, this rabbit was most likely a digger, searching for roots and tubers to eat. This is an indication of a lack of fresh green grass.
Additionally, because of lack of predators to worry about, Nuralagus rex developed reduced eye socket size and reduced auditory bullae, suggesting smaller eyes and ears. Which means that this creature didn't have large flappy ears, but relatively diminutive ears for its size.
 Quintana, Köhler, Moyà-Solà: Nuralagus rex, gen. et sp. nov., an endemic insular giant rabbit from the Neogene of Minorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology - 2011