Ekorus ekakeran

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Temporal range: Late Miocene, Ma
Ekorus ekakeran.jpg
Ekorus ekakeran
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Genus: Ekorus
Werdelin, 2003
E. ekakeran
Binomial name
Ekorus ekakeran
Werdelin, 2003

Ekorus ekakeran is a large extinct mustelid that inhabited late Miocene Kenya.[1]

Standing 60 centimetres (24 in) tall at the shoulders, its build was not similar to that of modern mustelids. Modern-day weasels have short legs and can only achieve short bursts of speed. The legs of Ekorus are built like those of leopards.[2] It appears that before Africa's big cats ruled the savannas, the giant mustelid Ekorus chased down its prey, such as the three-toed horse Eurygnathohippus and the large pig Nyanzachoerus. The reason for this evolution may be related to the Great Rift Valley. Before the rift opened, Kenya was more forested.[3] Eventually as moisture was drawn from the forests by the highlands, the forests opened up into grasslands. The swifter creatures built for open terrain prospered, while the slower forest species perished.[citation needed]

Fossils of large Miocene mustelids have also been discovered in North America and Asia.


  1. ^ Howell F. C. & García N. 2007. — Carnivora (Mammalia) from Lemudong’o (late Miocene: Narok District, Kenya). Kirtlandia 56: 121-139.
  2. ^ Werdelin L. 2003. — Mio-Pliocene Carnivora from Lothagam, Kenya, in Leakey M. G. & Harris J. D. (eds), Lothagam: Dawn of Humanity in Eastern Africa. Columbia University Press, New York: 261-328.
  3. ^ Werdelin L. & Simpson S. W. 2009. — The last amphicyonid (Mammalia, Carnivora) in Africa. Geodiversitas 31 (4) : 775-787.