Palaeolagus

Name: Palaeolagus ‭(‬Ancient hare‭)‬.
Phonetic: Pay-lee-oh-lay-gus.
Named By: Joseph Leidy‭ ‬-‭ ‬1856.
Synonyms: Archaeolagus striatus,‭ ‬Palaeolagus agapetillus,‭ ‬Protolagus affinus,‭ ‬Tricium annae,‭ ‬Tricium avunculus,‭ ‬Tricium leporinum.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Lagomorpha,‭ ‬Leporidae,‭ ‬Palaeolagus.
Species: P.‭ ‬burkei,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬haydeni,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬hemirhizis,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬hypsodus,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬intermedius,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬philoi,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬primus,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬temnodon.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: About‭ ‬25‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: Canada,‭ ‬Sekatchewan.‭ ‬USA,‭ ‬California,‭ ‬Colorado,‭ ‬Idaho,‭ ‬Montana,‭ ‬Nebraska,‭ ‬Oregon,‭ ‬North Dakota,‭ ‬South Dakota,‭ ‬Washington,‭ ‬Wyoming.
Time period: Priabonian of the Eocene through to the Chattian of the Oligocene
Fossil representation: Remains of probably a few hundred individuals.

       Palaeolagus is essentially an Eocene/Oligocene version of today‭’‬s rabbits and hares,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬Palaeolagus was quite a bit more primitive than modern forms.‭ ‬The rear legs in particular are proportionately shorter that modern rabbits,‭ ‬which means that Palaeolagus had less‭ ‘‬spring‭’ ‬in its step and therefore could not‭ ‬run anywhere near as fast as modern rabbits.‭ ‬Eocene and Oligocene era carnivores such as creodonts,‭ ‬nimravids and early amphicyonids however were also slower runners than modern cats and dogs however.‭ ‬While Palaeolagus would have likely been hunted by all of these kinds of predators,‭ ‬the gap between top running speeds may have proportionately been the same as modern rabbits and their modern predators.‭ ‬As the Oligocene progressed however,‭ ‬the ecosystems were changing to more open grasslands rather than forests,‭ ‬and this drove a shift towards faster herbivores,‭ ‬and faster predators to hunt them.‭ ‬Just like so many other animals that were not adapted to fast running,‭ ‬Palaeolagus seems to have gone extinct around the start of‭ ‬the Miocene.



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