Epicyon

Name: Epicyon (‬Near dog‭)‬.
Phonetic: Ep-ih-sigh-on.
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.
Diet: Carnivore.
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.

       Although it had a skull more like that of a big cat,‭ ‬Epicyon was an early ancestor to canines.‭ ‬Epicyon is noted for having an incredibly 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,‭ ‬better 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.

Further reading
- 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.



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