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. Alba
Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

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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
  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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