Skull of Nimravus gomphodus, from Cope (1880).

Belongs within: Carnivoramorpha.
Contains: Aeluroidea, Canidae, Amphicyonidae, Ursidae, Musteloidea, Phocidae, Otarioidea.

The Carnivora, as the name suggests, contains many of the familiar carnivorous mammals, though many species are partially or even primarily herbivorous. Within the crown Carnivora, most authors agree on a primary division between the Feliformia, containing cats, civets and mongooses, and the Caniformia, containing dogs, bears and weasels. Crown feliform taxa have the auditory bulla divided into two chambers by a bilaminar septum, while caniform taxa either have a low septum in the anterior part of the auditory cavity (Canidae) or lack a longitudinal septum entirely (Arctoidea) (Flynn et al.) 1988). The Canidae are also generally agreed to represent the sister group of other living caniforms in the Arctoidea.

The large, cat-like Nimravidae of the Eocene and Oligocene are uncertainly placed relative to modern carnivorans; various authors have placed them as stem feliforms, stem caniforms or outside the carnivoran crown group. Another group of cat-like carnivorans, the Miocene Barbourofelidae, have been classified with the Nimravidae in the past but were argued by Morlo et al. (2004) to be closer to true cats, possibly their sister group. Barbourofelids were convergent in appearance with the sabre-toothed cats (Machairodontinae), similarly possessing large scimitar-like canines.

Characters (from Flynn et al. 1988): P4-M1 modified into carnassial teeth; P4 protocone far anterolingual of paracone; elongate, well-developed P4 metastyle wing and blade with deep carnassial notch; elongate P4 talond with at least two posterior accessory cusps on posterior flank of main cusp; progressive decrease in size from M1 to M3, with M1 much larger than following two molars.

Carnivora [Cynofeloidea, Fissipeda, Miacoidea]
    |  i. s.: Promephitis hootoni MHL03, DW04
    |         Eucyon davisi MHL03
    |         Osbornodon MHL03
    |         Ectopocynus MHL03
    |--Feliformia FNT88
    |    |  i. s.: Tungurictis S78
    |    |         Pseudocivetta ingens S78
    |    |         Stenoplesictis OB13
    |    |         Barbourofelidae [Barbourofelinae, Barbourofelini] MPN04
    |    |           |  i. s.: Barbourofelis Schultz et al. 1970 MPN04
    |    |           |           |--B. fricki MPN04
    |    |           |           |--B. loveorum MPN04
    |    |           |           `--B. morris MPN04
    |    |           |         Sansanosmilus Kretzoi 1929 MPN04
    |    |           |           |--S. jourdani (Filhol 1883) MPN04
    |    |           |           |--S. palmidens (Blainville 1843) MPN04
    |    |           |           |--S. piveteaui (Ozansoy 1965) [=Barbourofelis piveteaui] MPN04
    |    |           |           `--S. vallesiensis Beaumont & Crusafont-Pairó 1982 MPN04
    |    |           |         Syrtosmilus Ginsburg 1978 MPN04
    |    |           |           `--*S. syrtensis Ginsburg 1978 MPN04
    |    |           |         Vampyrictis Kurtén 1976 MPN04
    |    |           |           `--*V. vipera MPN04
    |    |           |--Ginsburgsmilus Morales, Salesa et al. 2001 MPN04
    |    |           |    `--G. napakensis MPN04
    |    |           `--+--Prosansanosmilus Heizmann, Ginsburg & Bulot 1980 MPN04
    |    |              |    |--*P. peregrinus Heizmann et al. 1980 MPN04
    |    |              |    `--P. eggeri Morlo, Peigné & Nagel 2004 MPN04
    |    |              `--Afrosmilus Kretzoi 1929 MPN04
    |    |                   |--A. turkanae Schmidt-Kittler 1987 MPN04
    |    |                   `--+--A. africanus (Andrews 1914) MPN04 [=Metailurus africanus S78]
    |    |                      `--A. hispanicus Morales et al. 2001 MPN04
    |    |--Aeluroidea FNT88
    |    `--Palaeogalidae ML01
    |         |--Palaeogale FNT88
    |         `--Cryptailurus Martin & Lim 2001 ML01
    |              `--*C. tedfordi Martin & Lim 2001 ML01
    `--Caniformia [Arctoidei, Canoidea, Hypomycteri, Simocyoninae, Ursoidae] FNT88
         |--+--Canidae FNT88
         |  `--Arctoidea [Mustelida, Ursida] FNT88
         |       |  i. s.: Amphicyonidae FNT88
         |       |--Ursidae FNT88
         |       `--+--+--Musteloidea FNT88
         |          |  `--Mustelavus priscus MJ11
         |          `--Pinnipedia FF06
         |               |--Amphicticeps RDT09
         |               |    |--A. dorog FF06
         |               |    `--A. shackelfordi FF06
         |               `--+--Phocidae RDT09
         |                  |--Otarioidea RDT09
         |                  `--Puijila Rybczynski, Dawson & Tedford 2009 RDT09
         |                       `--*P. darwini Rybczynski, Dawson & Tedford 2009 RDT09
         `--Nimravidae [Nimravinae] FNT88
              |--Pogonodon V91
              |--Eusmilus Gervais 1876 D07
              |    |--E. bidentatus V91
              |    |--E. cerebralis V91
              |    `--E. sicarius V91
              |--Dinictis Leidy 1854 D07
              |    |--D. felina V91
              |    `--D. squalidens D07
              |--Hoplophoneus Cope 1874 D07
              |    |--H. dakotensis D07
              |    |--H. mentalis D07
              |    |--H. occidentalis V91
              |    |--H. primaevus V91
              |    `--H. sicarius D07
              |--Nimravus Cope 1878 D07
              |    |--N. altidens D07
              |    |--N. brachyops D07
              |    |--N. edwasrdsi D07
              |    |--N. gomphodus D07
              |    |--N. intermedius D07
              |    `--N. spectator D07
              |--Eofelis edwardsi MPN04
              |--Dinaelurictis MPN04
              |--Quercylurus MPN04
              `--Dinaelurus MPN04

*Type species of generic name indicated


[DW04] Deng T., Wang X., Ni X. & Liu L. 2004. Sequence of the Cenozoic mammalian faunas of the Linxia Basin in Gansu, China. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition) 78 (1): 8–14.

[D07] Dixon, D. 2007. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures. Hermes House: London.

[FF06] Finarelli, J. A., & J. J. Flynn. 2006. Ancestral state reconstruction of body size in the Caniformia (Carnivora, Mammalia): the effects of incorporating data from the fossil record. Systematic Biology 55 (2): 301–313.

[FNT88] Flynn, J. J., N. A. Neff & R. H. Tedford. 1988. Phylogeny of the Carnivora. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Phylogeny and Classification of the Tetrapods vol. 2. Mammals pp. 73–116. Clarendon Press: Oxford.

[ML01] Martin, L. D., & J.-D. Lim. 2001. A musteliform carnivore from the American Early Miocene. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie Monatshefte 2001: 265–276.

[MHL03] Meng, J., Y. Hu & C. Li. 2003. The osteology of Rhombomylus (Mammalia, Glires): implications for phylogeny and evolution of Glires. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 275: 1–247.

[MJ11] Meredith, R. W., J. E. Janečka, J. Gatesy, O. A. Ryder, C. A. Fisher, E. C. Teeling, A. Goodbla, E. Eizirik, T. L. L. Simão, T. Stadler, D. L. Rabosky, R. L. Honeycutt, J. J. Flynn, C. M. Ingram, C. Steiner, T. L. Williams, T. J. Robinson, A. Burk-Herrick, M. Westerman, N. A. Ayoub, M. S. Springer & W. J. Murphy. 2011. Impacts of the Cretaceous terrestrial revolution and KPg extinction on mammal diversification. Science 334: 521–524.

[MPN04] Morlo, M., S. Peigne & D. Nagel. 2004. A new species of Prosansanosmilus: implications for the systematic relationships of the family Barbourofelidae new rank (Carnivora, Mammalia). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 140: 43–61.

[OB13] O'Leary, M. A., J. I. Bloch, J. J. Flynn, T. J. Gaudin, A. Giallombardo, N. P. Giannini, S. L. Goldberg, B. P. Kraatz, Z.-X. Luo, J. Meng, X. Ni, M. J. Novacek, F. A. Perini, Z. S. Randall, G. W. Rougier, E. J. Sargis, M. T. Silcox, N. B. Simmons, M. Spaulding, P. M. Velazco, M. Weksler, J. R. Wible & A. L. Cirranello. 2013. The placental mammal ancestor and the post-K–Pg radiation of placentals. Science 339: 662–667.

[RDT09] Rybczynski, N., M. R. Dawson & R. H. Tedford. 2009. A semi-aquatic Arctic mammalian carnivore from the Miocene epoch and origin of Pinnipedia. Nature 458: 1021–1024.

[S78] Savage, R. J. G. 1978. Carnivora. In: Maglio, V. J., & H. B. S. Cooke (eds) Evolution of African Mammals pp. 249–267. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[V91] Valkenburgh, B. van. 1991. Iterative evolution of hypercarnivory in canids (Mammalia: Carnivora): evolutionary interactions among sympatric predators. Paleobiology 17 (4): 340–362.

Last updated: 10 August 2018.

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