Named By: Miklós Kretzoi - 1929.
Synonyms: Possibly Sansanosmilus vallesiensis.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Carnivora, Feliformia, Barbourofelidae.
Species: S. jourdani, S. jourdani vallesiensis, S. palmidens, *S. vallesiensis (possible synonym to S. jourdani vallesiensis).
Size: About 1.5 meters long, 80 kilograms in weight.
Known locations: Eurasia.
Time period: Serravallian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Several specimens.
fossil remains form China have been attributed to Sansanosmilus
the species S. palmidans), most of the
currently known fossils
come from Europe. This would suggest that the highest population
density for Sansanosmilus was in Europe, however
caution should be
used before coming to this conclusion since fossil deposits of certain
times are evenly distributed across the globe, nor is the level of
faunal inclusion in these deposits absolute. For this reason the
geographical and temporal distributions of extinct animals including
Sansanosmilus are usually a case of best educated
At around one and a half metres long and with a weight estimate of about eighty kilograms, Sansanosmilus was quite a bit smaller than the type genus of the Barbourofelidae, Barbourofelis. Additionally the enlarged upper canine teeth of Sansanosmilus were a little smaller as well. Together these might suggest a prey specialisation for smaller animals that did not require as much brute strength to take down, although the robust skeleton of Sansanosmilus is indicative of a powerful musculature. Also smaller prey would not require such large canines for a killing bite, perhaps across a more vulnerable area such as the neck.
Other barbourofelids include Prosansanosmilus and Ginsburgsmilus, Vampyrictis and Syrtosmilus amongst others.