Named By: Miklós Kretzoi - 1929.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Carnivora, Feliformia, Barbourofelidae.
Species: A. africanus, A. hispanicus, A. turkanae.
Known locations: Kenya.
Time period: Burdigalian Miocene.
Fossil representation: Few specimens.
Although Afrosmilus superficially looks like an African big cat, it is actually a barbourfelid, a group of mammals that appeared before the big cats of the Felidae. However exactly how close barbourofelids are to true cats is actually a matter of debate amongst palaeontologists with some claiming that they are not related at all to some that have even made the suggestion that they be included with the Felidae. As a barbourofelid Afrosmilus would obviously have been a predator of other animals that may have even included early primates such as Proconsul.
- A new tribe, new genus and two new species of Barbourofelinae (Felidae, Carnivora, Mammalia) from the Early Miocene of East Africa and Spain. - Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 92(01):97 - 102. - Jorge Morales, Manuel J. Salesa, M. Pickford & D. Soria - 2001.