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Temporal range: Late Pleistocene (Lujanian)
~0.781–0.012 Ma
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Caniformia
Family: Canidae
Genus: Protocyon
Giebel 1855

Protocyon is an extinct genus of small omnivorous canid endemic to South America during the Late Pleistocene living from 0.781 Ma to 12,000 years ago and existed for approximately 0.769 million years.[1]


Protocyon was a hypercarnivore, suggested by its dental adaptations. It hunted the medium-sized grazers and browers, but not the local megafauna although the young could have been preyed upon too. The find of a molar tooth found in Santa Vitória do Palmar in Brazil suggests a weight of between 25 and 37 kilograms (55 and 82 lb) for this particular specimen.[2]


Protocyon was named by Giebel in 1855 and assigned to Canidae by Carroll in 1988.[3]

Fossil distribution[edit]

Fossils of Protocyon have been found in the Ñuapua and Tarija Formations of Bolivia, the Vorohue Formation of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Santa Elena Peninsula of Ecuador, Sopas Formation of Uruguay, Mene de Inciarte Tar Seep of Venezuela and various sites in Brazil, among others the Jandaíra Formation.[1]