The last amphicyonid (Mammalia, Carnivora) in Africa


en Geodiversitas 31 (4) - Pages 775-787

Published on 31 December 2009

This article is a part of the thematic issue Louis de Bonis: 50 years of paleontological research on mammals

Amphicyonidae are a common element of carnivoran faunas in the early and middle Miocene of Eurasia and North America, but by the Messinian they had become extinct there, except possibly on the Indian subcontinent. In Africa, amphicyonids are poorly known from a scattering of records from the late Oligocene to the late Miocene. In this paper, we describe the last-surviving amphicyonid in Africa, from Messinian-age sediments (dated c. 6.5-5.3 Ma) of Ethiopia (Gona) and Kenya (Lothagam and possibly Lemudong’o). This new taxon shows unique adaptations to hypercarnivory in the lower molars and was small for an amphicyonid, dentally about the size of a coyote, Canis latrans.


Mammalia, Carnivora, Amphicyonidae, Neogene, Miocene, Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, new genus, new species

Download full article in PDF format Order a reprint