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On the specific identification of subfossil Cryptoprocta (Mammalia, Carnivora) from Madagascar

Steven M. GOODMAN, Rodin M. RASOLOARISON & Jörg U. GANZHORN

en Zoosystema 26 (1) - Pages 129-143

Published on 26 March 2004

Grandidier (1902) described a large form of Cryptoprocta ferox Bennett, 1833, a genus of Carnivora endemic to Madagascar, from subfossil material dating from the presumed Holocene that he referred to the variety spelea. Subsequently there has been varying opinion on the validity of this taxon. In this paper 159 subfossil and 32 modern osteological specimens of Cryptoprocta are examined and analyzed to determine if indeed two separate forms can be morphologically distinguished within the sample. On the basis of these tests we conclude that C. spelea Grandidier, 1902 is a valid species that existed on the island in the recent geological past. It was presumably a formidable predator that may well have feed on a variety of large lemur species that are now extinct.

Keywords :

Carnivora, Cryptoprocta, subfossil, Holocene, Madagascar.

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