Journal of Mammalian Evolution

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 207–219 | Cite as

A New Skull of Hyaenictis Gaudry, 1861 (Carnivora, Hyaenidae) Shows Incipient Adaptations to Durophagy

  • Víctor Vinuesa
  • Joan Madurell-Malapeira
  • Lars Werdelin
  • Josep M. Robles
  • Pau Obradó
  • David M. AlbaEmail author
Original Paper


The European Miocene records a wide diversity of hyaenid ecomorphotypes represented by multiple genera. Among these, Hyaenictis Gaudry, 1861, is one of the least known. This genus includes four species from the late Miocene and Pliocene of the Old World, but in Europe Hyaenictis is only represented by two species, recorded by scarce and fragmentary remains: Hyaenictis graeca Gaudry, 1861, from Pikermi (MN12; Greece) and Hyaenictis almerai Villalta Comella and Crusafont Pairó, 1948, from Sant Miquel de Toudell (MN10; Vallès-Penedès Basin, NE Iberia). Here, we describe a new skull of Hyaenictis aff. almerai from the Vallès-Penedès site of Ronda Oest Sabadell Sector D (MN10), representing the most complete European specimen of the genus. In the presence of m2 and virtual lack of m1 metaconid, the described cranium more closely resembles Hyaenictis rather than any other medium- to large-sized European hyaenid. However, the new skull does not fit well with previously known Hyaenictis species, more closely resembling the bone-cracking Adcrocuta Kretzoi, 1938, in the development of premolar accessory cuspids and the possession of relatively broad cheek teeth. These and other features (strong mandibular muscular insertions and enamel microstructure) denote more durophagous adaptations than previously documented in Hyaenictis (considered a cursorial/dog-like hyaena), and favor the inclusion of H. aff. almerai in the transitional bone-cracking hyaenid ecomorphotype.


Fossil carnivorans Miocene hyaenids Bone-cracking hyenas Taxonomy Vallesian NE Iberian Peninsula 



This paper has been funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (CGL2014-54373-P) and the Generalitat de Catalunya (2014 SGR 416 GRC, and predoctoral grant 2015FI-B00088 to VV). The work of LW on fossil carnivorans is supported by the Swedish Research Council (VR).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Víctor Vinuesa
    • 1
  • Joan Madurell-Malapeira
    • 1
  • Lars Werdelin
    • 2
  • Josep M. Robles
    • 1
  • Pau Obradó
    • 1
  • David M. Alba
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of PalaeobiologySwedish Museum of Natural HistoryStockholmSweden

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