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Temporal range: Early Paleocene to middle Eocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Condylarthra
Family: Phenacodontidae
Cope 1881
Subfamilies and Genera

Phenacodontidae is an extinct family of large herbivorous mammals in the order Condylarthra.[1]

Phenacodontids were better suited for cursorial locomotion than their more archaic predecessors. Phenacodus was the size of sheep; roughly 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) long excluding the long tail and 60 cm (24 in) at the withers. It had five hoofed digits that could rotate sideways, and was probably related to the perissodactyls. Some of the more advanced phenacodontids, such as Phenacodus and Almogaver survived in southern Europe into the late middle Eocene before the family was finally replaced by perissodactyls and artiodactyls during the late Eocene.[2]

The meniscotherids settled in Europe during the Paleocene. This family was more specialized than the generalist hyopsodont, as their posterior premolars were molarized (i.e. the molars and premolars formed "a battery of similar teeth") and their cheek teeth selenodont (i.e. crescent-shape) like in modern ruminants. This dentition shows that genera such as Pleuraspidotherium and its relatives were probably browsers. Their skeletons were, however, fully condylarthian.[2]

See also[edit]

  • Radinskya, a basal perissodactyl from the Paleocene of China


  1. ^ Phenacodontidae in the Paleobiology Database. Retrieved April 2013.
  2. ^ a b Agusti & Anton 2002, pp. 13, 27, 50


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]