Barbourofelis

Name: Barbourofelis ‭(‬Barbour’s cat‭)‬.
Phonetic: Bar-bore-os-fell-iss.
Named By: Schultz,‭ ‬Schultz‭ & ‬Martin‭ ‬-‭ ‬1970.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Barbourofelidae.
Species: B.‭ ‬fricki‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬B.‭ ‬loveorum,‭ ‬B.‭ ‬morrisi,‭ ‬B.‭ ‬osborni,‭ ‬B.‭ ‬piveteaui,‭ ‬B.‭ ‬vallensiensis,‭ ‬B.‭ ‬whitfordi.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Up to‭ ‬1.8‭ ‬meters long.‭
Known locations: North America.
Time period: Serravallian to Messinian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Many specimens.

       Barbourofelis is easily one of the largest of the‭ ‘‬false sabre-toothed cats‭’ ‬which were carnivorous mammals that through convergent evolution evolved to be very much like cats in form even though they are in fact quite distantly related.‭ ‬For this reason Barbourofelis is often quoted as being a member of the Nimravidae,‭ ‬a large group of false sabre toothed cats,‭ ‬although most palaeontologists place Barbourofelis within its own related but distinct group‭; ‬the Barbourofelidae.
       Barbourofelis was a powerfully built predator with a skeletal structure that is indicative of a strongly developed musculature similar in scale to the much later and true sabre-toothed cat Smilodon populator.‭ ‬This hints that like Smilodon populator,‭ ‬Barbourofelis was very physical in its attacks upon animals,‭ ‬subduing them with brute strength before using its enlarged sabre like upper canines to deliver a killing bite.‭ ‬The large size also hints at a specialisation in slower but more powerful prey like primitive rhinos that would have been very common in North America during the Miocene.‭
       Barbourofelis was not the only false sabre-toothed cat in North America,‭ ‬although the other earlier forms such as nimravids like Nimravus and Hoplophoneus were much smaller.‭ ‬The main predatory competition for Barbourofelis would have been bear dogs like Amphicyon that were also very large and powerful predators.‭ ‬However niether Barbourofelis nor Amphicyon lived beyond the Miocene,‭ ‬and it’s thought that a combination of climate change yielding new herbivores and new more advanced predators to hunt them displaced these two powerful animals as top predators,‭ ‬with extinction soon following.

Further reading
- Bulletin of the Nebraska State Museum 9(1). - C. B. Schultz et al - 1970.
- Barbourofelis (Nimravidae) and Nimravides (Felidae), with a Description of Two New Species from the Late Miocene of Florida. - Journal of Mammalogy 62(1):122-139. - J. A. baskin - 1981.



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