Borhyaenidae

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Borhyaenidae
Borhyaena tuberata skull.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Metatheria
Order: Sparassodonta
Family: Borhyaenidae
Ameghino, 1894

The borhyaenids, members of the metatherian family Borhyaenidae (probably not true marsupials, but sister taxa to them; see Sparassodonta), were a carnivorous group of otter/wolverine-like mammals in the order Sparassodonta. Like most metatherians, they had a pouch to carry their offspring around. Borhyaenids had strong and powerful jaws, like those of Hyaenodon and Andrewsarchus, for crushing bones. They grew up to 5 or 6 feet long. Borhyaena was a member of this group.

Originally, the Borhyaenidae was one of the most expansive groups of sparassodonts, including all species not originally included in the Thylacosmilidae. However, in recent years, with the elevation of most sparassodont subfamilies to family rank and the discovery that borhyaenids are more closely related to proborhyaenids and thylacosmliids than other sparassodonts, the family has been reduced to six species in three genera.[1]

Borhyaenids are best known from the early Miocene of South America, particularly from fossil sites in the southernmost part of Patagonia. Although some Oligocene basal borhyaenoids were once considered to be borhyaenids, the group is now considered restricted to the Miocene. The fossil record of this group after the early Miocene is rather poor, and only fragmentary remains attest to their presence in the late Miocene. However, the only confidently identified late Miocene borhyaenid specimen[which?] comes from a site which is known to have early Miocene fossils mixed in with late Miocene ones, and so it may be that this group did not survive the end of the early Miocene.[2]

Classification[edit]

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