Percrocuta

Name: Percrocuta ‭(‬Thorough hyena‭)‬.
Phonetic: Per-cro-cu-tah.
Named By: Miklos Kretzoi‭ ‬-‭ ‬1938.‭
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Carnivora,‭ ‬Percrocutidae.
Species: P.‭ ‬abessalomi,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬giganteus,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬hebeiensis,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬miocenica.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Around‭ ‬1.5‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Across Africa and Asia with countries including Algeria,‭ ‬China,‭ ‬Ethiopia,‭ ‬Libya,‭ ‬Russia,‭ ‬Saudi Arabia,‭ ‬South Africa and Turkey.
Time period: Langhian of the Miocene through to Zanclean/Piacenzian of the Pliocene.
Fossil representation: Multiple specimens though often of partial remains.

       The hyenas had their origin in ancient genera such as Ictitherium,‭ ‬but by the Miocene exceptionally large forms such as Percrocuta had already evolved into a more recognisably hyena form.‭ ‬Percrocuta possessed robust skull and jaws with attachment points that would have allowed for a powerful bite.‭ ‬The rear teeth of Percrocuta however were more adapted for slicing than crunching,‭ ‬something that might suggest a lifestyle that had more of a shift towards predation than actual scavenging‭ (‬although modern hyenas are known to be perfectly capable of killing their own food rather than rely upon scavenging alone‭)‬.
       Percrocuta likely filled a similar ecological niche as todays spotted hyena‭ (‬Crocuta crocuta‭)‬,‭ ‬living and hunting in grassy plains ecosystems.‭ ‬Today the spotted hyena lives alongside big cats such as lions,‭ ‬leopards and cheetahs,‭ ‬but Percrocuta instead lived alongside the ecological forerunners of modern big cats,‭ ‬the barbourofelids.‭ ‬These later would have been replaced by other predators such as true sabre-toothed cats such as Machairodus.‭ ‬Also while the spotted hyena lives alongside populations of wild dogs,‭ ‬Percrocuta likely came into contact with amphicyonids‭ (‬popularly known as bear dogs‭)‬.
       Pack hunting and living in social groups is still hard to establish with certainty for Percrocuta,‭ ‬though given the behaviour of its modern relatives,‭ ‬it is at least considered more probable than solitary living.



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