Borophagus diversidens

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Borophagus diversidens[1]
Temporal range: Late Miocene- Latest Pliocene, 4.9–1.8 Ma
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Subfamily: Borophaginae
Genus: Borophagus
Species: Borophagus diversidens
  • Felis hillianus Cope, 1932
  • Hyaenognathus matthewi Freudenberg (1910)
  • Hyaenognathus pachyodon Merriam, 1903
  • Hyaenognathus solus Stock (1932)
  • Porthocyon dubius Merriam, 1903

Borophagus diversidens ("devouring glutton") is an extinct species of the genus Borophagus of the subfamily Borophaginae, a group of canids endemic to North America from the late Miocene epoch through the Pliocene epoch 4.9—1.8 Ma.[2]


Borophagus diversidens was named by Cope in 1892. Members of its subfamily, Borophaginae, are loosely known as "bone-crushing" or "hyena-like" dogs. Though not the most massive borophagine by size or weight, it had a more highly evolved capacity to crunch bone than earlier, larger genera such as Epicyon, which seems to be an evolutionary trend of the group (Turner, 2004). During the Pliocene epoch, Borophagus began being displaced by Canis genera such as Canis edwardii and later by Canis dirus. Early species of Borophagus were placed in the genus Osteoborus until recently, but the genera are now considered synonyms.[1] B. diversidens possibly led a hyena-like lifestyle scavenging carcasses of recently dead animals.


Typical features of this genus are a bulging forehead and powerful jaws; it was probably a scavenger.[3] Its crushing premolar teeth and strong jaw muscles would have been used to crack open bone, much like the hyena of the Old World. The adult animal is estimated to have been about 80 centimetres (31 in) in length, similar to a coyote, although it was much more powerfully built.[4]


Two fossil specimens of Borophagus diversidens were measured by Legendre and Roth in 1988. They estimated that specimen one weighed 89 kilograms (196 lb) and the second weighed 75.4 kilograms (166 lb).[5]


Borophagus diversidens was recombined as Dinocyon (Borophagus) diversidens by Matthew in 1902 and then recombined as Dinocyon diversidens by Matthew the same year. It was recombined as Hyaenarctos diversidens.[citation needed]

Fossil distribution[edit]

Borophagus diversidens fossil specimens are very widespread from 2 sites in central Florida to central Mexico, from western Oregon and western Washington to New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.


  1. ^ a b Wang, Xiaoming; Richard Tedford; Beryl Taylor (1999-11-17). "Phylogenetic systematics of the Borophaginae" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 243. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  2. ^ PaleoBiology Database: Borophagus diversidens, basic info
  3. ^ Lambert, David (1985). The Field Guide to Prehistoric Life. New York: Facts on File. p. 163. ISBN 0-8160-1125-7. 
  4. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 220. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 
  5. ^ S. Legendre and C. Roth. 1988. Correlation of carnassial tooth size and body weight in recent carnivores (Mammalia). Historical Biology: p. 85-98

Further reading[edit]