Aelurodon is an extinct canine genus of the subfamily Borophaginae which lived from the Barstovian land mammal age (16 Mya) of the middle Miocene to the Clarendonian age of the late Miocene (9 Mya).[2] [3] Aelurodon existed for approximately 7 million years.


Aelurodon are a part of a clade of canids loosely known as "bone-crushing" or "hyena-like" dogs, that apparently descended from the earlier genera Protomarctus and Tomarctus.[2] Several species are known from fossils found in the central and western U.S., suggesting a wide geographic range during their peak in the Miocene epoch.[4][2] Large species of Aelurodon (A. ferox and A. taxoides) may have hunted in packs like modern wolves.[5]

Canid competitors[edit]

Aelurodon lived during a period with other canidae, specifically Borophaginae such as Epicyon (20.6—5.330 Ma), Paratomarctus (16.3—5.3 Ma), Borophagus (23.3—3.6 Ma), Carpocyon (20.4—3.9 Ma), and the first emerging wolf, Canis lepophagus (10.3—1.8 Ma).


Six species of Aelurodon are recognized.[1][2] Aelurodon asthenostylus existed from 20.6—13.6 Mya (7 million years). It was named by Wang et al. in 1999. Fossils of A. asthenostylus have been uncovered in western Nebraska, northern Colorado, Nevada and south central California. Two specimens had an estimated body mass of 33.0 kg (73.5 lbs) and 29.4 kg (64.8 lbs).[6] Aelurodon ferox existed from 16.3—10.3 Mya (6 million years) and was named by Leidy in 1858. Specimens have been found in western Nebraska, New Mexico, to the Texas gulf coast and to southern Montana. Two specimens had an estimated body mass of 45.6 kg (100.5 lbs) and 39.9 kg (88 lbs). Aelurodon mcgrewi existed from 16.3—13.6 Mya (3 million years) with fossils known from western Nebraska. Two specimens had an estimated body mass of 30.6 kg (67.4 lbs) and 34.7 kg (76.5 lbs). Aelurodon montaneis existed from 16.3—13.6 Mya (3 million years). Aelurodon stirtoni existed from 16.3—10.3 Ma (6 million years). Fossil specimens were uncovered in western Nebraska and New Mexico. Two specimens had an estimated body mass of 33.9 kg (74.7 lbs) and 29.3 kg (64.5 lbs). Aelurodon taxoides existed from 13.6—5.330 Mya (8.27 million years). Fossil specimens were uncovered in Florida, south and north Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, and the bay area of California. Two specimens had an estimated body mass of 56.3 kg (124 lbs) and 48.8 kg (107.5 lbs). The name Aelurodon was given by Joseph Leidy in 1858. The smaller Aelurodon lineage evolved teeth adapted to a more purely carnivorous (hypercarnivorous) diet, a trend consistent with other borophagines.[2] Some specimens of the largest species, Aelurodon taxoides, reached the size of a tiger.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Wang, Xiaoming; Richard Tedford; Beryl Taylor (1999-11-17). "Phylogenetic systematics of the Borophaginae" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 243: 1–391. hdl:2246/1588. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Wang, Xiaoming; Benjamin Wideman; Ralph Nichols; Debra Hanneman (June 2004). "A new species of Aelurodon (Carnivora, Canidae) from the Barstovian of Montana" (PDF). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 24 (2): 445–452. doi:10.1671/2493. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  3. ^ Aelurodon, Age Range and Collections, PaleoBiology Database
  4. ^ [1] List of Aelurodon specimens from the Berkeley Natural History Museum. (Accessed 4/11/06)
  5. ^ Van Valkenburgh, B.; Sacco, T.; Wang, X. (2003). "Pack hunting in Miocene borophagine dogs: evidence from craniodental morphology and body size" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 279: 147–162. doi:10.1206/0003-0090(2003)279<0147:C>2.0.CO;2. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  6. ^ Legendre, Serge; Roth, Claudia (1988). "Correlation of carnassial tooth size and body weight in recent carnivores (mammalia)". Historical Biology 1: 85. doi:10.1080/08912968809386468. 

Additional Reading[edit]

  • Xiaoming Wang, Richard H. Tedford, Mauricio Antón, Dogs: Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History, New York : Columbia University Press, 2008; ISBN 978-0-231-13528-3
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