Morphology and Diet
Though originally considered to be true cats, nimravids have been separated out from Felidae because of their distinctive inner ear bones. The outer housing of the inner ear that is made of bone in modern cats is made of cartilage in nimravids. In addition, the auditory bulla in modern cats is separated into two chambers. Nimravids possess either an auditory bulla with only a single chamber or none at all. Hoplophoneus also had a simple brain when compared to modern Felidae (Turner 1997). While not a true member of Felidae, H. primaevus would have greatly resembled a modern cat in both shape and behavior. Like extant cats, nimravids had at least semi-retractable claws, allowing them to run without their claws catching on loose material on the ground (Bryant 1991, Palmer & Cox 1997).
Nimravids (the family containing H. primaevus) are often called 'false saber-tooths,' as they have relatively large upper canines. Unlike true saber-toothed cats, nimravids also have extended lower canines (Palmer & Cox 1997). Hoplophoneus primaevus was a carnivore, likely feeding on grazers and early horses. Members of Hoplophoneus were generally about the size of a large leopard (Bryant 1991). Hoplophoneus had a long and flexible back, short legs, and shortened foot bones. This allowed it to adopt an interesting gait; it used both of its hind feet simultaneously to propel itself forward while its forelimbs move in a gallop not unlike that of a horse. This method of movement allows for great speed, but only for short time intervals (Turner 1997).
- Bryant, H. N. (1991). Phylogenetic relationships and systematics of the Nimravidae (Carnivora). Journal of Mammalogy, 56-78. Chicago
- Palmer, D., & Cox, B. (1999). The Marshall illustrated encyclopedia of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals: a comprehensive, colour guide to over 500 species. London: Marshall Pub.
- Turner, A. (1997). The big cats and their fossil relatives: an illustrated guide to their evolution and natural history. New York: Columbia University Press.
No one has provided updates yet.