Reconstructed skeleton of Oxyaena lupina, by Jacob Lawson Wortman.

Belongs within: Ferae.
Contains: Proviverrinae, Hyaenodontinae.

The Creodonta is a Palaeocene to Miocene group of carnivorous mammals, though the monophyly of the group is uncertain. Of the two constituent families, the Oxyaenidae probably originated in North America and remained most diverse there, whereas the Hyaenodontidae were diverse in both Eurasia and North America and were suggested by Gheerbrant et al. (2006) to have originated in Africa.

Characters (from Gunnell 1998): Small brains placed low in skull; large sagittal crest and broad temporal fossae in most taxa; auditory bullae primitively unossified; mastoid processes normally enlarged and broad; postorbital constriction distinct, separating skull into well-defined splanchnocranium and neurocranium. Upper and lower canines enlarged and pointed; lateral incisors large, medial incisors small in most species; premolars usually small and pointed; P4/p4 often more complex, even submolariform; lower molars with high trigonids and long, relatively narrow talonids; trigonids dominated by high, well-developed protoconid, with paraconid and metaconid (if present) lower, but often distinct; more derived forms with open trigonids forming long, tall cutting blades; metaconid primitively same size or smaller than paraconid, often completely lost; talonids reduced or lost in derived species; upper molars (and P4) with extended postmetacristae forming elongate cutting surfaces. Generalised postcranial skeleton; limbs mesaxonic, ranging from plantigrade to digitigrade; terminal phalanges are fissured claws; unfused scaphoid, lunate and centrale; astragalar trochlea smooth to grooved; astragalar head flattened and often obliquely angled from body; femur with distinct third trochanter; fumerus with shallow olecranon fossa and deep supratrochlear fossa.

<==Creodonta [Pseudocreodi]
    |--Oxyaenidae [Oxyaenoidea] GI06
    |    |  i. s.: Tytthaena GI06
    |    |           |--T. lichna HUG17
    |    |           `--T. parrisi HUG17
    |    |--Palaeonictinae [Ambloctonidae, Amblyctonidae] V66
    |    |    |--Paroxyaena Martin 1906 V66
    |    |    |--Palaeonictis Blainville 1842 V66
    |    |    |--Ambloctonus Cope 1875 [=Amblyctonus Cope 1880] V67
    |    |    |    `--A. sinosus Cope 1875 C77
    |    |    `--Dipsalodon Jepsen 1930 V66
    |    |         `--D. matthewi V66
    |    `--Oxyaeninae V66
    |         |--Dipsalidictides Denison 1938 V66
    |         |--Protopsalis Cope 1880 V66
    |         |--Sarkastodon Granger 1938 V66
    |         |    `--S. mongoliensis D07
    |         |--Patriofelis Leidy 1870 (see below for synonymy) V66
    |         |    |--P. coloradensis D07
    |         |    |--P. ferox D07
    |         |    `--P. ulta D07
    |         |--Dipsalidictis Matthew 1915 V67
    |         |    |--D. aequidens HUG17 [=Oxyaena aequidens V66]
    |         |    |--D. krausei HUG17
    |         |    |--D. platypus HUG17 [=Oxyaena platypus V66]
    |         |    `--D. transiens HUG17 [=Oxyaena gulo transiens V66]
    |         `--Oxyaena Cope 1874 [incl. Argillotherium Davies 1884] V67
    |              |--*O. lupina Cope 1874 OB13, C77
    |              |--O. forcipata Cope 1874 C77
    |              |--O. gulo V66
    |              |--O. intermedia V66
    |              |--O. morsitans Cope 1874 C77
    |              |--O. simpsoni Van Valen 1966 V66
    |              `--*Argillotherium’ toliapicum Daview 1884 V66
    `--Hyaenodontidae [Hyaenodontia, Hyaenodontoidea] GI06
         |  i. s.: Koholia [Koholiinae] GI06
         |           `--K. atlasense GI06
         |--+--Machaeroidinae [Machaeroidini] S78
         |  |    |--Apataelurus Scott 1937 V66
         |  |    `--Machaeroides Matthew 1909 V66
         |  |         |--M. eothen D07
         |  |         `--M. simpsoni D07
         |  `--Limnocyoninae [Limnocyonidae, Limnocyonini] V66
         |       |--Thereutherium Filhol 1877 V66
         |       |--Limnocyon Marsh 1872 [incl. Telmatocyon Marsh 1899] V66
         |       |--Oxyaenodon Wortman 1899 V66
         |       |    |--*O. dysodus Wortman 1899 [=O. dysclerus Hay 1902] V66
         |       |    `--O. wortmani Van Valen 1966 V66
         |       |--Thinocyon Marsh 1872 [incl. Entomodon Marsh 1872] V66
         |       |    |--‘Entomodon’ comptus Marsh 1872 V66
         |       |    |--T. medius V66
         |       |    `--T. velox V66
         |       `--Prolimnocyon Matthew 1915 V66
         |            |--P. antiquus V66
         |            |--P. atavus OB13
         |            |--P. elisabethae V66
         |            `--P. robustus V66
         `--+--+--Proviverrinae V66
            |  `--Teratodon Savage 1965 V67 [Teratodontidae, Teratodontinae GI06]
            |       |--T. enigmae S78
            |       `--T. spekei S78
            `--+--Hyaenodontinae V66
               |--Apterodon Fischer von Waldheim 1881 S78, V67 [incl. Dasyurodon Andreae 1887 V66; Apterodontinae GI06]
               |    |--*A. gaudryi Fischer 1880 V66
               |    |--A. altidens Schlosser 1911 V66
               |    |--A. flonheimensis (Andreae 1887) [=*Dasyurodon flonheimensis] V66
               |    |--A. macrognathus (Andrews 1904) S68
               |    |--A. minutus Schlosser 1911 V66
               |    `--A. saghensis Simons & Gingerich 1976 S78
               `--Hyainailourinae [Hyaenaelurinae, Pterodontinae] GI06
                    |--Hyainailouros Biedermann 1863 S78, V66 (see below for synonymy)
                    |    |--H. fourtaui V66
                    |    |--H. maximus V67
                    |    |--H. nyanzae V66 [=Pterodon nyanzae V67]
                    |    `--H. sulzeri [incl. H. bugtiensis] V67
                    `--Pterodon Blainville 1839 V66 [incl. Metapterodon Stromer 1926 S78, V66]
                         |--*P. dasyuroides S78
                         |--P. africanus Andrews 1903 S68
                         |--P. biincisivus [=Metapterodon biincisivus] S78
                         |--P. hyaenoides Matthew & Granger 1925 V67
                         |--P. kaiseri (Stromer 1923) S78, V67 [=*Metapterodon kaiseri S78]
                         |--P. leptognathus Osborn 1909 S68
                         |--P. phiomensis Osborn 1909 S68
                         `--P. zadoki S78 [=Metapterodon zadoki V67]

Hyainailouros Biedermann 1863 S78, V66 [=Hyaenaelurus Stehlin 1907 V66, Hyaenailurus Rütimeyer 1867 V66]

Patriofelis Leidy 1870 [incl. Aelurotherium Adams 1896, Limnofelis Marsh 1872, Oreocyon Marsh 1872] V66

*Type species of generic name indicated


[C77] Cope, E. D. 1877. Report upon the extinct Vertebrata obtained in New Mexico by parties of the expedition of 1874. Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian 4 (2): i–iv, 1–370.

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

[GI06] Gheerbrant, E., M. Iarochene, M. Amaghzaz & B. Bouya. 2006. Early African hyaenodontid mammals and their bearing on the origin of the Creodonta. Geological Magazine 143 (4): 475–489.

Gunnell, G. F. 1998. Creodonta. In: Janis, C. M., K. M. Scott & L. L. Jacobs (eds) Evolution of Tertiary Mammals of North America vol. 1. Terrestrial Carnivores, Ungulates, and Ungulatelike Mammals pp. 91-109. Cambridge University Press.

[HUG17] Halliday, T. J. D., P. Upchurch & A. Goswami. 2017. Resolving the relationships of Paleocene placental mammals. Biological Reviews 92 (1): 521–550.

[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.

[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).

[S68] Simons, E. L. 1968. African Oligocene mammals: introduction, history of study, and faunal succession. Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, Bulletin 28: 1–21.

[V66] Van Valen, L. 1966. Deltatheridia, a new order of mammals. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 132 (1): 1–126.

[V67] Van Valen, L. 1967. New Paleocene insectivores and insectivore classification. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 135 (5): 217–284.

Last updated: 13 August 2018.

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