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Temporal range: Early Oligocene–Late Oligocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Subfamily: Borophaginae
Genus: Oxetocyon
Green, 1954
Species: O. cuspidatus
Binomial name
Oxetocyon cuspidatus
Green, 1954
Oxetocyon range.png
Range of Oxetocyon based on fossil distribution

Oxetocyon ("beginning dog") is an extinct genus of the subfamily Borophaginae and a terrestrial canine which inhabited North America during the Whitneyan stage (33.3 Mya)—(30.8 Mya) of the Oligocene epoch.[1] Oxetocyon existed for approximately 2.5 million years.


The teeth of Oxetocyon indicate a more hypocarnivorous diet, as is found in the living raccoon dog, and suggest a potential relationship to the unusual borophagine Otarocyon. Oxetocyon is distinguished from Otarocyon by its own set of dental specializations for an omnivorous diet, particularly by the presence of a cleft that divides each upper molar into front and back halves.[2]


Fossil specimens of two individuals' body mass were examined by Legendre and Roth. The first specimen was estimated to weigh 1.04 kg (2.29 lbs). The second specimen was estimated to weigh 1.1 kg (2.44 lbs).[3][4]


Only a single species, O. cuspidatus, is known. Fossils of Oxetocyon are rare and, as a result, the genus is poorly known, and only the teeth, dentaries, and a fragmentary skull have been reported.

Sister genera[edit]

Archaeocyon, Otarocyon, and Rhizocyon.

Fossil distribution[edit]


  1. ^ PaleoBiology Database: Oxetocyon Taxonomy, Species
  2. ^ Xiaoming Wang, R.H. Tedford, and B.E. Taylor. 1999. Phylogenetic systematics of the Borophaginae
  3. ^ S. Legendre and C. Roth. 1988. Correlation of carnassial tooth size and body weight in recent carnivores (Mammalia). Historical Biology
  4. ^ Paleobiology Database: Oxetocyon (see Morphology)