Wild boars are well known for their large, bulky body, their aggressivity and their tusks.

They are animals from which a predator would gladly stay away if some easier prey is available. And, last but not least, they are omnivore.

How can a water dwelling creature (fish or water mammal) evolve to have the same features?

Clarification: the sea boar has to spend all of its life in water.

This is my contribution to the Anatomically Correct series.

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    $\begingroup$ Do predators have to stay away due to this animal's aggression? Manatees fit pretty much all aspects here except aggression. They have very few natural predators due to their bulk. $\endgroup$ – ColonelPanic Nov 20 '18 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ @ColonelPanic, yes, I want their aggressivity to be part of their defense (like with boars) $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Nov 20 '18 at 11:12

Whales, nice hippos and mantees.

  • Whales and hippopotamuses are close relatives. Nice example of how life went from sea to land and then back to sea. Hippos are agressive too and big, you may take some of it's extinct relatives or make one up, so it is more close to needed specs and looks.

  • Make them more like relatives of elephants: manatees or their ancestors sirenians, for more herbivore specs.

  • Pigs are related to them too and could do the same: go back to sea! You just need to make up how boar and ancient whale or mantees mix would look like.

So 5-15 million years ago group of boar ancestors started to live in ancient mangrooves (brackish water) and adopted more aquatic lifestyle. Millions of years of evolution and now we have pig-like-whales or pig-like-mantees. They are aggressive omnivores and may have tusks.

Rodhocetusenter image description here


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Mantees and sirenians

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Catfish, especially the Channel Catfish from the US

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  • Large bulk body - They are thick and weigh up to 50 lbs, which is pretty darn big for a freshwater fish. If Blue Catfish (~150 lbs and predatory) are the lions of the American freshwater environment, Channel Cat are the warthogs.

  • Aggressiveness - They are a prized fighting fish (at least in New Jersey):

Its potential size (the current state record caught in Lake Hopatcong - 33 lbs. 3 oz.), propensity to hit a variety of natural baits and artificial lures, hard fighting ability, as well as its quality as table fare make this species very popular.

  • Tusks - Catfish don't have tusks, but they have spines and stingers and are notoriously hard to hold for beginning anglers. Here is a video of a guy explaining how to not get stabbed by the spines. Smaller catfish, like the Bullhead have poisonous spines, to boot. If there were large predators, it would be reasonable that the larger catfish could be poisonous, too.

  • Omnivore - Not all catfish are, but the Channel Cat is.

Channel catfish are omnivorous and feed mostly at night on snails, insects, crawfish, algae, and plants.

  • $\begingroup$ good catch, but is it aggressive to the point that it would charge like boars do? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Nov 20 '18 at 10:46

Southern elephant seal

  • They are the largest extant marine mammal that is not a cetacean. Their bodies are massive and they use them to fight for territory and females.
  • It's primarily the males that fight, but when they do, they do it right! They throw their massive bodies against each other and bite each others necks blody. The dominant males with the biggest harem has to stay in his territory constantly to defend it against competitors.
  • Their diet consists primarily of meat, but they also consume algae.

When at the subantarctic or Antarctic coasts, the seals can also consume molluscs, crustaceans, nothothens,[27] lanternfish,[27] krill, cephalopods[28] or even algae. (source)

  • They have canine teeth rather than tusks, but it is conceivable that they could develop into tusks to aid in their fights during mating season.
  • They currently do spend time on land to mate and give birth. Maybe they adapt to the global warming and rise of sea level by gradually spending less time on land and eventually giving birth in the water. That could make the fights of the males during mating season more boar-like because they cannot crush their opponent but have to charge them.
  • $\begingroup$ But they spend part of their life on the dry land, right? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Nov 20 '18 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch They do stay on land (like all seals) during mating season and give birth on land. They can stay dry for a few weeks at a time (which is among the longest time among seals) but then have to return to the water until next mating season. $\endgroup$ – Elmy Nov 20 '18 at 13:06

A few thoughts...


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Odobenocetops was a genus of Miocene Odontocete (toothed whale), related to dolphins, which was bulky in build, had tusks, and may well have been aggressive. They were carnivores (but certainly had their predators - they lived alongside such icons as Megalodon and Livyatan), but a couple million years of evolutionary modification could easily see them take on a more omnivorous diet, should one food supply drop.


Pelagic walruses

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Walruses have tusks, are bulky, and are aggressive. They are not, however, fully aquatic, or omnivores - however, both of those things can be changed. Walruses appeared in the middle Miocene epoch, about 15 million years ago, so that's about enough time for a transition from semi-aquatic to fully aquatic. Perhaps, individuals with better adaptations for swimming were selected for until this change occurred, and then the newfound greater range at sea allowed populations to migrate to warmer waters where there's at least some aquatic flora (seagrass plains, I'm thinking), and thus a transition to omnivory occurred.

Lastly, a third option.

Actual suids

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A population of pigs in the Bahamas, specifically on Pig Island, are world-famous for their swimming abilities. They're not native, and it's theorized that the island was meant as a food store for some crew of sailors and that they planned to eat the pigs. In any case, it's entirely possible that this could be the beginning of a new clade of marine mammals.

Perhaps have your sea boars be actual pigs (which are domesticated boars) which colonized the ocean - whales are an example of what aquatic artiodactyls would look like in reality, so you could go for a Cetacean-like body plan but have the boar-like features retained, or perhaps just evolved secondarily.

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    $\begingroup$ If something can scare a Megalodon, I want to be 10 km away from the water where that thing swims... $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Nov 20 '18 at 20:32
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    $\begingroup$ Plus one for the sea pigs, I was going to write an answer mentioning them but didn't have time. Seems entirely plausible you could get actual aquatic pigs given the right conditions and enough time. $\endgroup$ – adaliabooks Nov 21 '18 at 7:37

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