Named By: Joesph Leidy - 1858.
Synonyms: Aelurodon aphobus, A. haydeni, A. inflatus, A. saevus, Osteoborus ricardoensis, O. validus, Tephrocyon mortifer.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Carnivora, Canidae, Borophaginae.
Species: E. haydeni (type), E. aelurodontoides, E. saevus.
Size: 1.5 meters long for the larger species.
Known locations: Across North America, particularly well-known from the United States.
Time period: Aquitanian through to the Messinian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Several specimens.
it had a skull more like that of a big cat, Epicyon
was an early
ancestor to canines. Epicyon is noted for having
powerful body that may have weighed up to one hundred and seventy
kilograms (for Epicyon haydeni). Its
unusually shaped skull meant
that Epicyon had a very short muzzle, something
that may have enabled
it to more easily crunch bones because the jaws biting down are nearer
the fulcrum of the jaw resulting in more power. This advantage has
also been proposed as part of the feeding method for Arctodus,
known as the short faced bear.
While the exact methods of hunting and prey animals for Epicyon are not known with certainty, other later and powerfully built canids such as Canis dirus (Dire Wolf) are thought to have grown stronger so that they could tackle larger and more powerful prey. Given its muscular and heavy build Epicyon may have had a similar prey preference, as it would have been easier for it to chase and catch these types rather than smaller and faster prey. Epicyon might have also relied more upon scavenging than actual hunting.
- Phylogenetic systematics of the Borophaginae (Carnivora: Canidae) - Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 243:1-392 - X. Wang, R. H. Tedford & B. E. Taylor - 1999.
- Late Miocene mammals from the Mauvilla Local Fauna, Alabama - Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History 46(1):1-28 - R. C. Hulbert and F. C. Whitmore - 2006.