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PALEO DIRECT

BEAR DOG

Bear Dog Fossils

EARLY MIOCENE PERIOD:  20 - 18 million years ago

Made famous in the BBC digital television presentation "Walking with Prehistoric Beasts", the bear-dogs were ferocious carnivores that ranged from the size of a medium dog to the size of a bear.  These predators known as Amphicyonids were neither dogs nor bears but were more closely related to bears.  They emerged and subsequently went extinct during the Miocene, once inhabiting regions of Eurasia and North America.  

Amphicyonidae were a diverse group with species resembling all or part of modern dogs, hyenas and bears.  Leaner built species had cheek teeth designed for shearing meat whereas the stouter and larger species had teeth designed to crush bone.  Males were larger than females.  They lived in dens and had the ability to dig large burrows.  

Amphicyon longiramus was the largest of the Florida species at the size of a full-grown bear.  This species evolved in Eurasia and migrated to North America.  A. longiramus was the top predatory land mammal of its time in Florida during the Early Miocene.  Its skull was long in comparison to its body size but brain size was lacking.  Its posture and structure were similar to a bear and it is theorized that it must have hunted using ambush techniques that are used today by modern grizzlies.  Most likely, this giant bear-dog burst upon its unfortunate victim at close range and dealt its prey a single deadly blow with its massive forepaw.  This theory of attack is also based on its relative the bear as it was incapable of sustaining long runs in pursuit of prey.  Compared to lighter species of Amphicyonids, Amphicyon longiramus had heavy posterior dentition allowing it to crush bone in its jaws. 

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Categories

BEAR DOG

Bear Dog Fossils

EARLY MIOCENE PERIOD:  20 - 18 million years ago

Made famous in the BBC digital television presentation "Walking with Prehistoric Beasts", the bear-dogs were ferocious carnivores that ranged from the size of a medium dog to the size of a bear.  These predators known as Amphicyonids were neither dogs nor bears but were more closely related to bears.  They emerged and subsequently went extinct during the Miocene, once inhabiting regions of Eurasia and North America.  

Amphicyonidae were a diverse group with species resembling all or part of modern dogs, hyenas and bears.  Leaner built species had cheek teeth designed for shearing meat whereas the stouter and larger species had teeth designed to crush bone.  Males were larger than females.  They lived in dens and had the ability to dig large burrows.  

Amphicyon longiramus was the largest of the Florida species at the size of a full-grown bear.  This species evolved in Eurasia and migrated to North America.  A. longiramus was the top predatory land mammal of its time in Florida during the Early Miocene.  Its skull was long in comparison to its body size but brain size was lacking.  Its posture and structure were similar to a bear and it is theorized that it must have hunted using ambush techniques that are used today by modern grizzlies.  Most likely, this giant bear-dog burst upon its unfortunate victim at close range and dealt its prey a single deadly blow with its massive forepaw.  This theory of attack is also based on its relative the bear as it was incapable of sustaining long runs in pursuit of prey.  Compared to lighter species of Amphicyonids, Amphicyon longiramus had heavy posterior dentition allowing it to crush bone in its jaws. 

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