Chapter

Creodonta

Margaret E. Lewis and Michael Morlo

in Cenozoic Mammals of Africa

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780520257214
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945425 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257214.003.0026
Creodonta

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The order Creodonta was first named by Cope (1875) and removed from its original placement in the order Carnivora. Some researchers still maintain that creodonts and carnivorans (or carnivoramorphans) are sister taxa, though not all agree. While creodonts and carnivorans share an ossified tentorium and a few basicranial and tarsal features, their possible synapomorphies are few. Like carnivorans, creodonts vary greatly in their postcranial adaptations. Unlike carnivorans, most creodonts have fissured terminal phalanges, with the exception of the European Proviverrinae, and an unfused scaphoid and lunate. All known Afro-Arabian creodonts belong to the family Hyaenodontidae and range in age from the Eocene (and possibly Paleocene) to the middle Miocene. While the earliest African members of this family are found in the north, this family eventually spread southward into eastern and southern Africa. In Africa, as elsewhere, this family is diverse both in body size and morphology, with body size ranging from some of the smallest of forms to the largest hyaenodontid known (Megistotherium). This chapter describes the systematic paleontology of Creodonta.

Keywords: Africa; paleontology; Creodonta; creodonts; carnivorans; Hyaenodontidae; Eocene; Miocene; Megistotherium

Chapter.  15615 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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