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Aelurodon

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aelurodon

Aelurodon (National Museum of Natural History)

Name:

Aelurodon (Greek for "cat tooth"); pronounced ay-LORE-oh-don

Habitat:

Plains of North America

Historical Epoch:

Middle-late Miocene (16-9 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 5 feet long and 50-75 pounds

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Dog-like build; strong jaws and teeth

About Aelurodon:

For a prehistoric dog, Aelurodon (Greek for "cat tooth") has been given a somewhat bizarre name. This "bone-crushing" canid was an immediate descendant of Tomarctus, and was one of a number of hyena-like proto-dogs that roamed North America during the Miocene epoch. There's evidence that the larger species of Aelurodon may have hunted (or roamed) the grassy plains in packs, either taking down diseased or aged prey or swarming around already-dead carcasses and cracking the bones with their powerful jaws and teeth.
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