A New Skull of Hyaenictis Gaudry, 1861 (Carnivora, Hyaenidae) Shows Incipient Adaptations to Durophagy

Víctor Vinuesa, Joan Madurell-Malapeira, Lars Werdelin, Josep M. Robles, Pau Obradó, David M. Alba

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York. The European Miocene records a wide diversity of hyaenid ecomorphotypes represented by multiple genera. Among these, Hyaenictis Gaudry, 1861, is one of the least known. This genus includes four species from the late Miocene and Pliocene of the Old World, but in Europe Hyaenictis is only represented by two species, recorded by scarce and fragmentary remains: Hyaenictis graeca Gaudry, 1861, from Pikermi (MN12; Greece) and Hyaenictis almerai Villalta Comella and Crusafont Pairó, 1948, from Sant Miquel de Toudell (MN10; Vallès-Penedès Basin, NE Iberia). Here, we describe a new skull of Hyaenictis aff. almerai from the Vallès-Penedès site of Ronda Oest Sabadell Sector D (MN10), representing the most complete European specimen of the genus. In the presence of m2 and virtual lack of m1 metaconid, the described cranium more closely resembles Hyaenictis rather than any other medium- to large-sized European hyaenid. However, the new skull does not fit well with previously known Hyaenictis species, more closely resembling the bone-cracking Adcrocuta Kretzoi, 1938, in the development of premolar accessory cuspids and the possession of relatively broad cheek teeth. These and other features (strong mandibular muscular insertions and enamel microstructure) denote more durophagous adaptations than previously documented in Hyaenictis (considered a cursorial/dog-like hyaena), and favor the inclusion of H. aff. almerai in the transitional bone-cracking hyaenid ecomorphotype.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-219
    JournalJournal of Mammalian Evolution
    Volume24
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

    Keywords

    • Bone-cracking hyenas
    • Fossil carnivorans
    • Miocene hyaenids
    • NE Iberian Peninsula
    • Taxonomy
    • Vallesian

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