Carnivora

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Carnivorans
Temporal range: 42–0  Ma
CheetahGrizzly bearSpotted HyaenaWolfBinturongRaccoonIndian grey mongooseAmerican minkFossaWalrusCarnivora
Carnivora
Various carnivorans, with feliforms to the left, and caniforms to the right
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Clade: Carnivoramorpha
Clade: Carnivoraformes
Order: Carnivora
Bowdich, 1821 [2]
Suborders

Carnivora is an order of placental mammals that have specialized in primarily eating flesh. Its members are formally referred to as carnivorans, though some species are omnivorous, such as raccoons and bears, and quite a few species such as pandas are specialized herbivores. The word 'carnivore' is derived from Latin carō (stem carn-) "flesh" and vorāre "to devour", it refers to any meat-eating organism. The order Carnivora is the fifth largest order of mammals and one of the more successful members of the group; it comprises at least 279 species living on every major landmass and in a variety of habitats, ranging the cold polar regions to the hyper-arid region of the Sahara Desert to the open seas. They come in a huge array of different body plans in contrasting shapes and sizes. The smallest carnivoran is the least weasel (Mustela nivalis) with a body length of about 11 cm (4.3 in) and a weight of about 25 g (0.88 oz). The largest is the southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina), with adult males weighing up to 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) and measuring up to 6.7 m (22 ft). All species of carnivorans are descended from a group of mammals which were related to today's pangolins, having appeared in North America 6 million years after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. [3] [4] These early ancestors of carnivorans would have resembled small weasel or genet-like mammals, occupying a nocturnal shift on the forest floor or in the trees, as other groups of mammals like the mesonychians and creodonts were occupying the top faunivorous niche. However, by the time Miocene epoch appeared, most if not all of the major lineages and families of carnivorans had diversified and took over this niche.

Contents

Carnivora can be divided into two subclades: the cat-like Feliformia and the dog-like Caniformia which are differentiated based on the structure of their ear bones and cranial features. The feliforms include families such as the cats, the hyenas, the mongooses and the viverrids. The majority of feliform species are found in the Old World, though the cats and one extinct genus of hyena have successfully diversified into the Americas. The caniforms include the dogs, bears, raccoons, weasels, and pinnipeds. Members of this group are found worldwide and with incredible diversity in their diet, behavior, and morphology. Despite this the two groups of carnivorans share several unique traits, one being the presence of the carnassial teeth. In carnivorans the carnassial pair is made up by the fourth upper premolar and the first lower molar teeth. There is variation among the carnassial pair depending on the family. Some species are cursorial and the foot posture in terrestrial species is either digitigrade or plantigrade. In pinnipeds the feet have become flippers where the locomotion is unique in each of the pinniped families.

After primates, carnivorans are arguably the group of mammals of most interest to humans. The dog is noteworthy for not only being the first species of carnivoran to be domesticated, but also the first species of any organism. In the last 10,000 to 12,000 years humans have selectively bred dogs for a variety of different tasks and today there are well over 400 breeds. The cat is another domesticated carnivoran and it is today considered one of the most successful species on the planet, due to their close proximity to humans and the popularity of cats as pets. Many other species are popular, and they are often charismatic megafauna. Many civilizations have incorporated a species of carnivoran into their culture such as the lion, viewed as royalty. Yet many species such as wolves and the big cats have been broadly hunted, resulting in extirpation in some areas. Habitat loss and human encroachment as well as climate change have been the primary cause of many species going into decline. Four species of carnivorans have gone extinct since the 1600s: Falkland Island Wolf (Dusicyon australis) in 1876; the Sea Mink (Neovison macrodon) in 1894; the Japanese Sea Lion (Zalophus japonicus) in 1951 and the Caribbean Monk Seal (Neomonachus tropicalis) in 1952. [3] Some species such as the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and stoat (Mustela erminea) have been introduced to Australasia that have caused many native species to become endangered or even extinct. [5]

Systematics

Evolution

Life reconstruction of Tapocyon robustus, a species of miacid Tapocyon robustus.jpg
Life reconstruction of Tapocyon robustus, a species of miacid

The order Carnivora belongs to a group of mammals known as Laurasiatheria, which also includes other groups such as bats and ungulates. [6] [7] Within this group the carnivorans are placed in the clade Ferae. Ferae includes the closest extant relative of carnivorans, the pangolins, as well as several extinct groups of mostly Paleogene carnivorous placentals such as the creodonts, the arctocyonians, and mesonychians. [8] The creodonts were originally thought of as the sister taxon to the carnivorans, perhaps even ancestral to, based on the presence of the carnassial teeth. [9] but the nature of the carnassial teeth is different between the two groups. In carnivorans the carnassials are positioned near the front of the molar row, while in the creodonts they are positioned near the back of the molar row. [10] and this suggests a separate evolutionary history and an order-level distinction. [11] In addition recent phylogenetic analysis suggests that creodonts are more closely related to pangolins while mesonychians might be the sister group to carnivorans and their stem-relatives. [8]

The closest stem-carnivorans are the miacoids. The miacoids include the families Viverravidae and Miacidae, and together the Carnivora and Miacoidea form the stem-clade Carnivoramorpha. The miacoids were small, gennet-like carnivoramorphs that occupy a variety of niches such as terrestrial and arboreal habitats. Recent studies have shown a supporting amount of evidence that Miacoidea is an evolutionary grade of carnivoramorphs that, while viverravids are monophyletic basal group, the miacids are paraphyletic in respect to Carnivora (as shown in the phylogeny below). [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]

  Ferae  

Pholidotamorpha Pangolin Hardwicke (white background).jpg

 PanCarnivora 

Oxyaenodonta Patriofelis ferox by R. B. Horsfall (coloured).png

 Hyaenodonta 

Hyaenodonta(sensu stricto) Hyaenodon horridus by R. B. Horsfall (coloured).jpg

Altacreodus

Tinerhodon

Altacreodus/Tinerhodon
clade
 sensu lato 
  Carnivoramorpha  
  Viverravoidea  

Viverravidae

 ? 

carnivoramorph sp. (UALVP 50993 & UALVP 50994)

 ? 

Ravenictis

 ? 

carnivoramorph sp. (UALVP 31176)

 ? 

carnivoramorph sp. (WW-84: USNM 538395)

  Carnivoraformes  

Neovulpavus

 ? 

carnivoraform undet. Genus A (UCMP 110072)

Neovulpavus
clade

"Miacis" medius

 ? 

carnivoraform undet. Genus B (SDSNH 56335)

 ? 

Africtis

Dormaalocyon

"Miacis" exiguus

Vassacyon

Vulpavus

"Miacis" deutschi

Vulpavus
clade

Miocyon

Simamphicyon

Zodiocyon

Uintacyon

 ? 

"Miacis" lushiensis

 ? 

"Miacis" thailandicus

 ? 

"Miacis" invictus

Uintacyon
clade

Miacis Miacis restoration.jpg

carnivoraform sp. (PM 3868)

Dawsonicyon

"Miacis" petilus

"Miacis" latidens

 ? 

"Miacis" boqinghensis

 ? 

"Miacis" hookwayi

 ? 

"Miacis" vulpinus

Paroodectes

Paramiacis

Eogale

Gracilocyon

Oodectes

Oodectes
clade
 ? 

Ceruttia

Prodaphaenus

 ? 

Walshius

 Carnivora 

Feliformia Stamp-russia2014-save-russian-cats-(snow leopard).png

Caniformia Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XI).jpg

 sensu stricto 
 (Carnivorasensu lato) 

Carnivoramorpha as a whole first appeared in the Paleocene of North America about 60 million years ago. [4] Crowned carnivorans first appeared around 42 million years ago in the Middle Eocene. [1] Their molecular phylogeny shows the extant Carnivora are a monophyletic group, the crown group of the Carnivoramorpha. [20] From there carnivorans have split into two clades based on the composition of the bony structures that surround the middle ear of the skull, the cat-like feliforms and the dog-like caniforms. [21] In feliforms, the auditory bullae are double-chambered, composed of two bones joined by a septum. Caniforms have single-chambered or partially divided auditory bullae, composed of a single bone. [22] Initially the early representatives of carnivorans were small as the creodonts dominated the niches as top apex predators, but by the Miocene most of the extant carnivoran families have diversified and successfully out-competed the creodonts.

The phylogenetic relationships of the carnivorans are shown in the following cladogram: [23] [24] [25] [26] [27]

  Carnivoraformes  

Miacidae(paraphyletic family) Miacis restoration.jpg

Ceruttia

Walshius

 Carnivora 
  Feliformia  
  Aeluroidea  
  Viverroidea  
  Herpestoidea  
 Hyaenidae 

Percrocutidae Dinocrocuta gigantea.jpg

Hyaenidae (hyaenas) Hyaena maculata - 1818-1842 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam -(white background).jpg

Lophocyonidae

 sensu lato 
 Herpestidae 

Herpestidae (mongoose) Lydekker - Broad-banded Cusimanse (white background).JPG

Eupleridae (Malagasy mongooses) Cryptoprocta ferox - 1700-1880 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam -(white background).png

 sensu lato 

Viverridae (viverrids) Malay Civet (Viverra tangalunga) white background.jpg

Shandgolictis

Asiavorator

Alagtsavbaatar

Anictis

  Feloidea  
 Prionodontidae 

Prionodontidae (Asiatic linsangs) Prionodon maculosus.png

Palaeoprionodon

 sensu lato 

Haplogale

Stenoplesictis

 ? 

Pseudictis

 Felidae 

Barbourofelidae

Viretictis

Stenogale

Felidae (cats) Stamp-russia2014-save-russian-cats-(snow leopard).png

 sensu lato 

Nandiniidae (African palm civet) The carnivores of West Africa (Nandinia binotata white background).png

Nimravidae (false saber-toothed cats) Dinictis Knight.jpg

Palaeogalidae

  Caniformia  
  Amphicyonoidea  

Amphicyonidae ("bear-dogs") Ysengrinia.jpg

Lycophocyon

  Canoidea  
  Cynoidea  

Canidae (canids) Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XI).jpg

  Arctoidea  
  Ursida  
  Ursoidea  

Ursidae (bears) Ursus thibetanus - 1700-1880 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam -(white background).jpg

Adracon

  Musteloidea  

Procyonidae (raccoons) Wild animals of North America, intimate studies of big and little creatures of the mammal kingdom (Page 410) (white background).jpg

Mustelidae (mustelids) Fitch white background.png

Ailuridae RedPandaFullBody white background.JPG

 ? 

Peignictis

Mephitidae (skunks) Die Saugthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur, mit Beschreibungen (Plate CXXI-) (white background).jpg

Plesiogale

  Pinnipedimorpha  

Semantoridae

Enaliarctidae

Pinnarctidion

  Pinnipediformes  

Pacificotaria

Pteronarctos

  Pinnipedia  
  Otarioidea  

Otariidae
(eared seals)

Zalophus californianus J. Smit (white background).jpg

Odobenidae
(walruses)

USSR stamp Walrus 1977 (white background).png

  Phocoidea  

Desmatophocidae

Phocidae
(earless seals)

Faroe stamp 227 grey seal (Phoca vitulina) white background.jpg

 sensu stricto 
 (Pinnipediasensu lato) 

Classification of the extant carnivorans

In 1758 the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus placed all carnivorans known at the time into the group Ferae (not to be confused with the modern concept of Ferae which also includes pangolins) in the tenth edition of his book Systema Naturae . He recognized six genera: Canis (canids and hyaenids), Phoca (pinnipeds), Felis (felids), Viverra (viverrids, herpestids, and mephitids), Mustela (non-badger mustelids), Ursus (ursids, large species of mustelids, and procyonids). [28] It wasn't until 1821 that the English writer and traveler Thomas Edward Bowdich gave the group its modern and accepted name. [2]

Initially the modern concept of Carnivora was divided into two suborders: the terrestrial Fissipedia and the marine Pinnipedia. [29] Below is the classification of how the extant families were related to each other after American paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson in 1945: [29]

Since then, however, the methods in which mammalogists use to assess the phylogenetic relationships among the carnivoran families has been improved with using more complicated and intensive incorporation of genetics, morphology and the fossil record. Research into Carnivora phylogeny since 1945 has found Fisspedia to be paraphlyetic in respect to Pinnipedia, [30] with pinnipeds being either more closely related to bears or to weasels. [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] The small carnivoran families Viverridae, [36] Procyonidae, and Mustelidae have found to be polyphyletic:

Below is a table chart of the extant carnivoran families and number of extant species recognized by various authors of the first and fourth volumes of Handbook of the Mammals of the World published in 2009 [47] and 2014 [48] respectively:

Carnivora Bowdich, 1821
Feliformia Kretzoi, 1945
Nandinioidea Pocock, 1929
FamilyEnglish NameDistributionNumber of Extant SpeciesType TaxonImage Figure
Nandiniidae Pocock, 1929African Palm Civet Sub-Saharan Africa 1 Nandinia binotata (J. E. Gray, 1830)
Feloidea G. Fischer de Waldheim, 1817
FamilyEnglish NameDistributionNumber of Extant SpeciesType TaxonImage Figure
Felidae G. Fischer de Waldheim, 1817Cats Americas, Africa, and Eurasia (introduced to Madagascar, Australasia and several islands)37 Felis catus Linnaeus, 1758 Felis catus-cat on snow.jpg
Prionodontidae Horsfield, 1822Linsangs Indomalayan realm 2 Prionodon linsang (Hardwicke, 1821)
Viverroidea J. E. Gray, 1821
FamilyEnglish NameDistributionNumber of Extant SpeciesType TaxonImage Figure
Viverridae J. E. Gray, 1821Civets, genets, and oyansSouthern Europe, Indomalayan realm, and Africa (introduced to Madagascar)34 Viverra zibetha Linnaeus, 1758 Large Indian Civet, Viverra zibetha in Kaeng Krachan national park.jpg
Herpestoidea Bonaparte, 1845
FamilyEnglish NameDistributionNumber of Extant SpeciesType TaxonImage Figure
Hyaenidae J. E. Gray, 1821Hyenas Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent 4 Hyaena hyaena (Linnaeus, 1758) Hyena at chattbir zoo.jpg
Herpestidae Bonaparte, 1845Mongooses Iberian Peninsula, Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Indomalayan realm 34 Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758) Herpestes ichneumon Egipetskii mangust, ili faraonova krysa, ili ikhnevmon.jpg
Eupleridae Chenu, 1850Malagasy mongooses and civets Madagascar 8 Eupleres goudotii Doyère, 1835 Eupleres goudotii - Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria - Genoa, Italy - DSC02711.JPG
Caniformia Kretzoi, 1945
Canoidea G. Fischer de Waldheim, 1817
FamilyEnglish NameDistributionNumber of Extant SpeciesType TaxonImage Figure
Canidae G. Fischer de Waldheim, 1817Dogs Americas, Africa, and Eurasia (introduced to Madagascar, Australasia and several islands)35 Canis familiaris Linnaeus, 1758 2013072515020909 MyDogs 622.jpg
Ursoidea G. Fischer de Waldheim, 1817
FamilyEnglish NameDistributionNumber of Extant SpeciesType TaxonImage Figure
Ursidae G. Fischer de Waldheim, 1817Bears Americas and Eurasia 8 Ursus arctos Linnaeus, 1758 Kamchatka Brown Bear near Dvuhyurtochnoe on 2015-07-23.jpg
Phocoidea J. E. Gray, 1821
FamilyEnglish NameDistributionNumber of Extant SpeciesType TaxonImage Figure
Odobenidae J. A. Allen, 1880WalrusThe North Pole in the Arctic Ocean and subarctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere 1 Odobenus rosmarus (Linnaeus, 1758) Walrus2.jpg
Otariidae J. E. Gray, 1825Eared SealsSubpolar, temperate, and equatorial waters throughout the Pacific and Southern Oceans and the southern Indian and Atlantic Oceans15 Otaria byronia (Linnaeus, 1758) Southern Sea Lions.jpg
Phocidae J. E. Gray, 1821Earless SealsThe sea and Lake Baikal 18 Phoca vitulina Linnaeus, 1758 White harbor seal on moss by Dave Withrow, NOAA.png
Musteloidea G. Fischer de Waldheim, 1817
FamilyEnglish NameDistributionNumber of Extant SpeciesType TaxonImage Figure
Mephitidae Bonaparte, 1845Skunks and stink badgers Americas, western Philippines, and Indonesia and Malaysia 12 Mephitis mephitis (Schreber, 1776) Skunk about to spray.jpg
Ailuridae J. E. Gray, 1843Red PandaEastern Himalayas and southwestern China 1 Ailurus fulgens F. Cuvier, 1825 RedPanda SingalilaNationalPark DFrame.jpg
Procyonidae J. E. Gray, 1825Raccoons Americas (introduced to Europe, the Caucasus, and Japan)12 Procyon lotor (Linnaeus, 1758) Waschbaer auf dem Dach.jpg
Mustelidae G. Fischer de Waldheim, 1817Weasels, otters, and badgers Americas, Africa, and Eurasia (introduced to Australasia and several islands)57 Mustela erminea Linnaeus, 1758 Stoat - RSPB Sandy (28058976023).jpg

Anatomy and physiology

Craniodental region

Skull of a fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox). Note the large and conical canine and carnassial teeth common in feliforms. Em - Cryptoprocta ferox - 2.jpg
Skull of a fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox). Note the large and conical canine and carnassial teeth common in feliforms.

The canine teeth are usually large and conical. The canines are thick and incredibly stress resistant. All of the terrestrial species of carnivorans have three incisors on the top and bottom row of the dentition (the exception being is the sea otter (Enhydra lutris) which only has two lower incisor teeth). [49] [50] The third molar has been lost. The carnassial pair is made up by the fourth upper premolar and the first lower molar teeth. Like most mammals the dentition is heterodont in nature, though in some species like the aardwolf (Proteles cristata) the teeth have been greatly reduced and the cheek teeth are specialised for eating insects. In pinnipeds the teeth are homodont as they have evolved to grasp or to catch fish, and the cheek teeth are often lost. [50] In bears and raccoons the carnassial pair is secondarily reduced. [50] The skulls are heavily built with a strong zygomatic arch. [50] Often a sagittal crest is present, sometimes more evident in sexual dimorphic species like sea lions and fur seals, though it has also been greatly reduced seen in some small carnivorans. [50] The braincase is enlarged and the frontoparietal is position at the front of it. In most species the eyes are position at the front of the face. In caniforms the rostrum is usually longer with many teeth, where in comparison with felifoms the rostrum is shorter and have fewer teeth. The carnassial teeth in feliforms, however is more sectional. [50] The turbinates are large and complex in comparison to other mammals, providing a large surface area for olfactory receptors. [50]

Postcranial region

A black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) trying to predate on a brown fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus) pup. These two species illustrate the diversity in bodyplan seen among carnivorans, especially between pinnipeds and their terrestrial relatives. Canis mesomelas vs. Arctocephalus pusillus.jpg
A black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) trying to predate on a brown fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus) pup. These two species illustrate the diversity in bodyplan seen among carnivorans, especially between pinnipeds and their terrestrial relatives.

Aside from an accumulation of characteristics in the dental and cranial features, not much of their overall anatomy unites them as a group. [49] All species of carnivorans have quadrupedal limbs with usually five digits at the front feet and four digits at the back feet. In terrestrial carnivorans the feet have soft pads. The feet can either be digitigrade seen in cats, hyenas and dogs or plantigrade seen in bears, skunks, raccoons, weasels, civets and mongooses. In pinnipeds the limbs have been modified into flippers. Unlike other marine mammals, such as cetaceans and sirenians which have fully functional tails to help them swim, pinnipeds use their limbs underwater for locomotion. In earless seals they use their back flippers; sea lions and fur seals use their front flippers, and the walrus use all of their limbs. This resulted in pinnipeds having significantly shorter tails. Aside from the pinnipeds, dogs, bears, hyenas, and cats have distinct and recognizable appearances. Dogs are usually cursorial mammals and are gracile in appearance, often relying on their teeth to hold to prey; bears are much larger and rely on their physical strength to forage for food. Cats in comparison to dogs and bears have much longer and stronger frontlimbs armed with retractable claws to hold on to prey. Hyenas are dog-like feliforms that have sloping backs due to their front legs being longer than their hindlegs. The raccoon family as well as the red panda are small, bear-like carnivorans with long tails. The other small carnivoran families Nandiniidae, Prionodontidae, Viverridae, Herpestidae, Eupleridae, Mephitidae and Mustelidae have through convergent evolution maintained the small, ancestral appearance of the miacoids, though there is some variation seen such as the robust and stout physicality of badgers and the wolverine (Gulo gulo). [49] Male carnivorans usually have bacula, though they are absent in hyenas and binturongs. [51]

Depending on the environment the species is, the length and density of their fur varies. In warm climate species the fur is often short in length and lighter. In comparison to cold climate species the fur is either dense or long, often with an oily substance to keep them warm. The pelage coloration comes in many colors, often including black, white, orange, yellow, red, and many shades of gray and brown. There can be colored patterns too, such striped, spotted, blotched, banded, or otherwise boldly patterned. There seems to be a correlation between habitat and color pattern as for example spotted or banded species tend to be found in heavily forested environments. [49] Some species like the grey wolf is a polymorphic species with different individual variation in colors. The arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) and the stoat (Mustela erminea) the fur goes from white and dense in the winter to brown and sparse in the summer. In pinnipeds, polar bears, and sea otters have a thick insulating layer of blubber to help maintain their body temperature.

See also

Related Research Articles

Asiatic linsang genus of mammals

The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang and the spotted linsang. Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.

<i>Canis</i> genus of mammals

Canis is a genus of the Caninae containing multiple extant species, such as wolves, dogs, coyotes and jackals. Species of this genus are distinguished by their moderate to large size, their massive, well-developed skulls and dentition, long legs, and comparatively short ears and tails.

Saber-toothed cat

A saber-toothed cat is any member of various extinct groups of predatory mammals that are characterized by long, curved saber-shaped canine teeth which protruded from the mouth even when closed. The saber-toothed cats have been found almost worldwide from the Eocene epoch to the end of the Pleistocene epoch 42 million years ago (mya) – 11,000 years ago (kya). The first saber-toothed cat fossil in Canada was found in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Caniformia suborder of mammals

Caniformia is a suborder within the order Carnivora consisting of "dog-like" carnivorans. They include dogs, bears, wolves, foxes, raccoons, badgers, seals and mustelids. The Pinnipedia are also assigned to this group. The center of diversification for Caniformia is North America and northern Eurasia. Caniformia stands in contrast to the other suborder of Carnivora, Feliformia, the center of diversification of which was in Africa and southern Asia.

Creodonta order of mammals

Creodonta is an extinct, possibly polyphyletic order of carnivorous mammals that lived from the Paleocene to the Miocene epochs. Because they both possess carnassial teeth, creodonts and carnivorans were once thought to have shared a common ancestor, but given that different teeth are involved in making up the carnassials, this appears to be a case of evolutionary convergence. Carnassials are also known in other mammal clades, such as in the extinct bat Necromantis.

Mesonychid Extinct taxon of carnivorous ungulates

Mesonychia is an extinct taxon of small to large-sized carnivorous ungulates related to the cetartiodactyls. Mesonychids first appeared in the early Paleocene, went into a sharp decline at the end of the Eocene, and died out entirely when the last genus, Mongolestes, became extinct in the early Oligocene. In Asia, the record of their history suggests they grew gradually larger and more predatory over time, then shifted to scavenging and bone-crushing lifestyles before the group became extinct.

Hyaenodontidae family of mammals (fossil)

Hyaenodontidae is a family of extinct predatory mammals, and is the type family of the extinct mammalian order Hyaenodonta. Hyaenodontids were important mammalian predators that arose during the late Paleocene and persisted well into the Miocene. They were considerably more widespread and successful than the oxyaenids, the other clade historically considered part of Creodonta.

Ferae A clade of mammals consisting of Carnivores and Pholidotes

Ferae is a clade of mammals, consisting of the orders Carnivora and Pholidota. An alternate name, Ostentoria, has also been proposed for a grouping of the Carnivora and Pholidota. The last common ancestor of extant Ferae is supposed to have diversified ca. 78.9 million years ago. Several extinct orders, relatives of the Pholidota, such as Creodonts, are members of Ferae as well.

Carnassial Mammal tooth type

Carnassials are paired upper and lower teeth modified in such a way as to allow enlarged and often self-sharpening edges to pass by each other in a shearing manner. The modification arose separately in several groups of carnivorous mammals. Different pairs of teeth were involved in the separate modifications. In modern Carnivora, the carnassials are the modified fourth upper premolar and the first lower molar. These teeth are also referred to as sectorial teeth. Humans lack carnassial teeth.

Miacidae family of mammals

Miacids are extinct primitive carnivoramorphans within the family Miacidae that lived during the Paleocene and Eocene epochs, about 62–34 million years ago. Miacids existed for approximately 28 million years.

<i>Miacis</i> genus of mammals

Miacis is a genus of extinct carnivorous mammals that appeared in the late Paleocene and continued through the Eocene. The genus Miacis is not monophyletic but a diverse collection of species that belong to the stemgroup within the Carnivoramorpha. As such, most Miacis species belong to the group of early carnivores that represent the ancestors of the modern order, the crown-group Carnivora. However, the species Miacis cognitus is placed not in the stem-group but among the Caniformia, one of the two suborders of the crown-group Carnivora.

Eupleridae family of carnivorans

Eupleridae is a family of carnivorans endemic to Madagascar and comprising 10 known living species in seven genera, commonly known as euplerids, Malagasy mongooses or Malagasy carnivorans. The best known species is the fossa, in the subfamily Euplerinae. All species of Euplerinae were formerly classified as viverrids, while all species in the subfamily Galidiinae were classified as herpestids.

Carnivoramorpha clade of mammals

Carnivoramorpha are a clade of mammals that includes the modern order Carnivora.

Feliformia suborder of mammals in the order Carnivora

Feliformia is a suborder within the order Carnivora consisting of "cat-like" carnivorans, including cats, hyenas, mongooses, viverrids, and related taxa. Feliformia stands in contrast to the other suborder of Carnivora, Caniformia.

Arctoidea infraorder of mammals

Arctoidea is an infraorder of mostly carnivorous mammals which include the extinct Hemicyonidae (dog-bears), and the extant Musteloidea, Pinnipedia, and Ursidae (bears), found in all continents from the Eocene, 46 million years ago, to the present. Arctoids are caniforms, along with dogs (canids) and extinct bear dogs (Amphicyonidae). The earliest caniforms were superficially similar to martens, which are tree-dwelling mustelids. Together with feliforms, caniforms comprise the order Carnivora.

<i>Gustafsonia</i> species of mammal (fossil)

Gustafsonia is an extinct genus of carnivoran belonging to the family Amphicyonidae. The type species, Gustafsonia cognita, was described in 1986 by Eric Paul Gustafson, who originally interpreted it as a miacid and named it Miacis cognitus. It was subsequently considered to be the only species of the diverse genus Miacis that belonged to the crown-group Carnivora, within the Caniformia, and it was ultimately assigned to the family Amphicyonidae. The type specimen or holotype was discovered in Reeve's bonebed, western Texas, in the Chambers Tuff Formation in 1986. The University of Texas holds this specimen. It is the only confirmed fossil of this species.

<i>Amphimachairodus</i> genus of mammals

Amphimachairodus is an extinct genus of large machairodonts belonging to the clade known as Eumachairodontia along with relatives like Smilodon and Homotherium. It is also a member of the tribe Homotherini within Machairodontidae and is most closely related to such species as Xenosmilus, Homotherium itself, and Nimravides. It inhabited Eurasia, Northern Africa and North America during the late Miocene epoch.

Amphicynodontinae subfamily of mammals

Amphicynodontinae is a probable clade of extinct arctoids. While some researchers consider this group to be an extinct subfamily of bears, a variety of morphological evidence links amphicynodontines with pinnipeds, as the group were semi-aquatic otter-like mammals. In addition to the support of the pinniped–amphicynodontine clade, other morphological and some molecular analyses support bears being the closest living relatives to pinnipeds. According to McKenna and Bell (1997) Amphicynodontinae are classified as stem-pinnipeds in the superfamily Phocoidea. Fossils of these mammals have been found in Europe, North America and Asia. Amphicynodontines should not be confused with Amphicyonids (bear-dogs), a separate family of Carnivora which is a sister clade to arctoids within the caniforms, but which may be listed as a clade of extinct arctoids in older publications.

Herpestoidea Superfamily of mammals

Herpestoidea is a superfamily of mammalia carnivores which includes mongooses, Malagasy carnivorans and the hyenas.

Pinnipedimorpha suborder of mammals

Pinnipedimorpha is a stem-clade of arctoid carnivorans that is defined to include the last common ancestor of Phoca and Enaliarctos, and all of their descendants of that ancestral taxon. Scientists still debate on which lineage of arctoid carnivorans are the closest relatives to the pinnipedimorphs, being either more closely related to bears or to musteloids.

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