Daphoenus

Name: Daphoenus.
Phonetic: Da-foe-nus.
Named By: Joseph Liedy‭ ‬-‭ ‬1853.
Synonyms: Daphoenus demilo,‭ ‬Pericyon,‭ ‬Proamphicyon nebrascensis,‭ ‬Protemnocyon hartshornianus.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Carnivora,‭ ‬Caniformia,‭ ‬Amphicyonidae,‭ ‬Daphoeninae.
Species: D.‭ ‬vetus‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬hartshorianus,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬ambei,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬ruber,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬socialis,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬transversus.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Up to‭ ‬1.5‭ ‬meters long,‭ ‬but exact size depends upon the species with some being smaller.
Known locations: Canada,‭ ‬USA.
Time period: Lutetian of the Eocene through to Burdigalian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Multiple specimens.

       Although no way near as popular as the large‭ ‘‬bear dogs‭’ ‬such as Amphicyon,‭ ‬the large number of fossil remains for Daphoenus actually make it one of if not the best represented of the North American bear dogs.‭ ‬Daphoenus is actually the type genus of a special sub group of amphicyonids called the Daphoeninae,‭ ‬a group of bear dogs that is so far only known from North America.
       Like with other bear dogs,‭ ‬Daphoenus was a dog-like animal that also exhibited bear like features and characteristics.‭ ‬One such feature are the plantigrade feet which mean that Daphoenus would have walked with the metatarsals in contact with the ground,‭ ‬giving Daphoenus a low walking‭ ‘‬flat-footed‭’ ‬appearance.‭ ‬Later more advanced forms would develop to walk on their toes so that the metatarsal bones would effectively extend the length of the legs.‭ ‬Plantigrade posture seems to have been a trait of more primitive mammals since it is seen in some other groups such as the nimravids.‭ ‬Daphoenus skulls display a strongly developed sagittal crest‭ (‬a ridge that runs along the back of the skull for the attachment of jaw closing muscles‭) ‬which is thought to have allowed for considerably more powerful jaw muscles which in turn mean that Daphoenus had a very powerful bite.
       As a genus Daphoenus had a geographic distribution that covered most of the western/central United States and much of Canada,‭ ‬although when the genus can be broken down into specific species a different picture emerges.‭ ‬D.‭ ‬vetus and D.‭ ‬hartshorianus are known from the central US,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬lambei ranged between central southern Canada and Texas,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬ruber from California and D.‭ ‬socialis from Oregon.‭ ‬Without other discoveries to indicate different,‭ ‬this all comes together to indicate that not all species were active in the same times and locations as one another,‭ ‬although some‭ ‬cross over between species is possible to likely depending upon‭ ‬the species in question.
       The type species D.‭ ‬vetus is usually credited as being the largest while others,‭ ‬particularly earlier species like D.‭ ‬lambei and D.‭ ‬ruber are smaller.‭ ‬One rival to D.‭ ‬vetus in terms of size is D.‭ ‬socialis which was one of the last species to live during the Miocene.

Further reading
- Additions to the Mammalian Fauna From the Tecuya Beds, California. - Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication 418(4):87-92. - C. Stock - 1932.
- A systematic revision of Daphoenus and some allied genera. - Journal of Paleontology 22(5):573-600. - J. R. Hough - 1948.
- New amphicyonid carnivorans (Mammalia, Daphoeninae) from the early Miocene of southeastern Wyoming. - American Museum Novitates 3385:1-41. - R. M. Hunt - 2002.





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