Home LATEST NEWS Huge “dog-bears” populated the Pyrenees 12 million years ago

Huge “dog-bears” populated the Pyrenees 12 million years ago

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Better known as bear-dogs, Amphicyonidae are an extinct family of large carnivorous mammals. These animals closely related to canids populated much of the Northern Hemisphere.

Appeared in the Eocene (36 million years ago) and disappeared in the middle Miocene (7.5 million years ago), they represent one of the most characteristic groups of predators of the ancient fauna. European.

Tartarocyon cazanavei (Art illustration)

Photo: Basel Natural History Museum/Denny Navarra

kg and their diet was typically mesocarnivorous, omnivorous, bone-crushing and hypercarnivorous”,”text”:”Their body mass ranged from 9 to 320kg and their diet was typically mesocarnivorous, omnivorous, bone-crushing and hypercarnivorous”} }”>Their body mass ranged from 9 to 320 kg and their diet was typically mesocarnivorous, omnivorous, bone-crushing and hypercarnivorous.notes paleontologist Bastien Mennecart in a press release published by the museum.

A new kind

The mandible was unearthed in the small town of Sallespisse, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in southwestern France. It was extricated from a marine deposit 12 to 12.8 million years old.

Scientists were struck by the dentition of the lower jaw.

Contrary to what is observed in other amphicyonids, the dentition of this animal has a single lower fourth molar. This tooth is particularly important for the determination of species and genera. We are probably in the presence of a new genre. »

A quote from Bastien Mennecart

The team named the beast Tartarocyon cazanaveia name inspired by the character of Tartaro, a one-eyed giant from Basque mythology.

The body mass of a Tartarocyon is estimated at 200 kg, which makes it one of the largest predators that lived on European territory in the Miocene.

million years in the northern Pyrenees are very rare, the statement noted. This discovery and the description of the lower jaw are all the more important. They offer the opportunity to better understand the evolution of European bear dogs in the environmental context of the time.”,”text”:”Findings of fossils of terrestrial vertebrates that lived 13 to 11 million years ago in the northern Pyrenees are very rare, the statement notes. This discovery and the description of the lower jaw are all the more important. They offer the opportunity to better understand the evolution of European bear dogs in the environmental context of the time.”}}”>Fossil discoveries of terrestrial vertebrates that lived 13 to 11 million years ago in the northern Pyrenees are very rare, the statement noted. This discovery and the description of the lower jaw are all the more important. They offer the opportunity to better understand the evolution of European bear dogs in the environmental context of the time.

The details of this work are published in the journal PeerJ (New window) (in English).

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