Named By: R. J. G. Savage - 1973.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Eutheria, Laurasiatheria, Creodonta, Hyaenodontidae, Hyainailourinae.
Species: M. osteothlastes (type).
Size: Largest known skull about 66 centimetres long. Overall roughly about 135 centimetres high at the shoulder.
Known locations: Africa, with countries including Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Namibia, Uganda
Time period: Aquitanian through to the Serravalian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Skull and postcranial remains.
large relative of the more famous Hyaenodon,
clearly one of the main predators of its day. The skull of
Megistotherium alone measured up to sixty-six
almost as long as the average person’s arm and hand. It is likely
that Megistotherium also scavenged carcasses,
though in what ratio
Megistotherium hunted and scavenged is unknown. In
animals associated with hunting such as lions will scavenge when they
can, while animals associated with scavenging such as hyena will also
hunt. The bones of mastodons have been found with Megistotherium-like
tooth marks upon them, suggesting that Megistotherium
at least fed
There has been speculation however that Megistotherium may be a synonym of Hyainailouros, a relative creodont also known to have attained large sizes, be similar and be active in some of the same locations at the same time as Megistotherium.
- Megistotherium, gigantic hyaenodont from Miocene of Gebel Zelten, Libya. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Geology 22 (7): 483–511. - R. J. G. Savage - 1973.
- New specimens of the giant creodont Megistotherium (Hyaenodontidae) from Moghara, Egypt. - Journal of Mammalogy (American Society of Mammalogists) 70 (2): 442–447 - D. Tab Rasmussen, Christopher D. Tilden and Elwyn L. Simons - 1989.
- Creodonta and Carnivora from Arrisdrift, early Middle Miocene of southern Namibia - Memoir of the Geological Survey of Namibia 01/2003; 19:177-194. - Jorge Morales, Martin Pickford, Susana Fraile, Manuel J. Salesa & Dolores Soria - 2003.
- Carnivores from the Middle Miocene Ngorora Formation (13-12 Ma) Kenya. Estudios Geol., 61, 271-284 - J. Morales & M. Pickford - 2005.
- Creodonta and Carnivora from Wadi Moghra, Egypt. - Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 27: 145–159 - M. Morlo, E. R. Miller & A. N. El-Barkooky - 2007.
- Creodonta and Carnivora from the early Miocene of the northern Sperrgebiet, Namibia. Memoir of the Geological Survey of Namibia 20: 291-310 - J. Morales, M. Pickford, M. J. Salesa - 2008.
- Creodonts and carnivores from the Middle Miocene Muruyur Formation at Kipsaraman and Cheparawa, Baringo District, Kenya. - Comptes Rendus Palevol 7 (8): 487-497 - J. Morales & M. Pickford - 2008.