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Temporal range: Miocene, 20–8 Ma
Pseudaelurus teeth.png
Pseudaelurus jawbone from the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart, Germany
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Genus: Pseudaelurus
Gervais, 1850

Pseudaelurus is a prehistoric cat that lived in Europe, Asia and North America in the Miocene between approximately 20 to 8 million years ago. It is an ancestor of today's felines and pantherines as well as the extinct machairodont saber-tooths, and is a successor to Proailurus. It originated from Eurasia and was the first felid to reach North America, when it entered the continent at about 18.5 Ma ending a 'cat-gap' of 7 million years.[1][2] The slender proportions of the animal, together with its short, viverrid-like legs, suggest that it may have been an agile climber of trees.[3]

Species and distribution[edit]


The first and most primitive species Pseudaelurus turnauensis (=Pseudaelurus transitorius) from the early Miocene was about the size of a domestic cat and probably evolved directly from the Oligocene Proailurus. The European Pseudaelurus turnauensis gave rise to additional species. Pseudaelurus lorteti was lynx-sized and the even larger Pseudaelurus quadridentatus weighed about 30 kg and was approximately the size of a cougar. The latter showed a trend towards slightly enlarged upper canines, indicating that it may have given rise to the later saber-toothed machairodontines. Unexpectedly, the early Pseudaelurus turnauensis survived until 8 million years ago, at which time it is recorded in Germany, whereas the more derived Pseudaelurus lorteti and Pseudaelurus quadridentatus died out 2 million years earlier.[4] A fourth European species is described as Pseudaelurus romieviensis, smaller than P. quadridentatus but larger than P. lorteti.[2]


P. turnauensis is also recorded in Saudi Arabia from the early Miocene. P. lorteti is also recognized from the middle Miocene of Asia (Jiangsu, China), where two additional species, Pseudaelurus guangheensis from the middle Miocene of Gansu (China) and Pseudaelurus cuspidatus from the middle Miocene of Xinjiang (China) are reported.[2]

Restoration of an American specimen

North America[edit]

Pseudaelurus intrepidus from the Early to Late Barstovian of North America was a relatively large species, overlapping in size with the European P. quadridentatus. A second large North American species from the Early and Late Barstovian was Pseudaelurus marshi. Pseudaelurus stouti (originally described as Lynx stouti) also from the Early and Late Barstovian was a very small and slender form of the genus. Pseudaelurus aeluroides with only a type specimen from Early Barstovian from Nebraska is not well studied, but may be conspecific with P. marshi. A species Pseudaelurus validus, from the late Hemingfordian of New Mexico was described in 2001. This species overlaps in size with P. intrepidus, P. marshi and P. quadridentatus.[5] Recently (2003) an additional North American species Pseudaelurus skinneri from the Late Hemingfordian of Nebraska was described. This species is smaller than P. validus and overlaps in size with the Eurasian species P. lorteti, P. cuspidatus and p. guangheensis.[2]

Evolutionary significance[edit]

Pseudaelurus is located in Earth
Pseudaelurus from Big Beaver A (Ash Hollow), US
Pseudaelurus from Big Spring Canyon (), US
Pseudaelurus intrepidus from Forked Hills of Hayden (), US
Pseudaelurus from Fort Niobrara (Valentine), US
Pseudaelurus from Immense Journey Quarry (), US
Pseudaelurus marshi from Joseph Jamber Quarry (), US
Pseudaelurus stouti from Kennesaw (Pawnee Creek Beds), US
Pseudaelurus from Mastodon Quarry (), US
Pseudaelurus marshi from Mouth of Minnechaduza Creek (), US
Pseudaelurus intrepidus from Trail Creek Quarry (Ash Hollow), US
Pseudaelurus marshi from Valentine Railway Quarries (Valentine), US
Pseudaelurus intrepidus from Valentine Railway Quarries (Valentine), US
Pseudaelurus from Verdigre Quarry (Valentine), US
Pseudaelurus from Wolf Creek (SDSM V-5324) (), US
Pseudaelurus intrepidus from Rancho El Ocote (Basal) (Rancho Viejo Beds), MX
Pseudaelurus from Yepomera (), MX
Pseudaelurus aeluroides from Yost Farm (Wood Mountain), CA
Pseudaelurus from Black Butte (UO 2343) (Juntura), US
Pseudaelurus from Cedar Mountain (Esmeralda), US
Pseudaelurus from Fish Lake Valley (Esmeralda), US
Pseudaelurus from Juniper Creek (UO 2451) (), US
Pseudaelurus from Red Basin (UO 2495) (Butte Creek Volcanic Sandstone), US
Pseudaelurus intrepidus from Tonopah (), US
Pseudaelurus intrepidus from Avawatz Mountains (Avawatz), US
Pseudaelurus from Kent Quarry (DS Caliente), US
Pseudaelurus validus from Nambe (Tesuque), US
Pseudaelurus from Quatal Canyon South Side 3 (MR Caliente), US
Pseudaelurus from Wikieup (Big Sandy), US
Pseudaelurus from Adam Risley Ranch (), US
Pseudaelurus from Screw Bean (Banta Shut-In), US
Pseudaelurus quadridentatus from Przeworno 1, Lower Silesia (), PL
Pseudaelurus lorteti from Przeworno 2, Lower Silesia (), PL
Pseudaelurus from Lufeng, Section D, Layer 2 (), CN
Pseudaelurus from Lufeng, Section D, Layer 3 (), CN
Pseudaelurus from Lufeng, Section D, Layer 4 (), CN
Pseudaelurus from Lufeng, Section D, Layer 5 (), CN
Pseudaelurus from Lufeng, Section D, Layer 6 (), CN
Pseudaelurus turnauensis from Al-Sarrar, Locality 8, Dam Formation (Dam), SA
Pseudaelurus from Panxian Dadong (), CN
Pseudaelurus romieviensis from Langenau 1 (Brackwater Molasse), DE
Pseudaelurus from Bézian (), FR
Pseudaelurus lorteti from Bézian (), FR
Pseudaelurus romieviensis from Baigneaux-en-Beauce (), FR
Pseudaelurus lorteti from Artenay (), FR
Pseudaelurus from Zapfe's fissures (), SK
Pseudaelurus lorteti from Sandberg (), SK
Pseudaelurus turnauensis from Sandberg (), SK
Pseudaelurus lorteti from Eggingen-Mittelhart 3 (Brackwater Molasse), DE
Pseudaelurus from Pellecahus (), FR
Pseudaelurus quadridentatus from Pasalar (), TR
Pseudaelurus from Pasalar (), TR
Pseudaelurus lorteti from Antonios (Antonios), GR
Pseudaelurus quadridentatus from Antonios (Antonios), GR
Pseudaelurus from Isayevo (), UA
Pseudaelurus aeluroides from Northeast Rim of Sinclair Draw (Olcott), US
Pseudaelurus from Ulaan Tologoi, UTO-A/5 (Loh), MN
Pseudaelurus intrepidus from Rhino Quarry (F:AM) (Sheep Creek), US
Pseudaelurus from Pellecahus (), FR
Pseudaelurus intrepidus from Sharktooth Hill (terrestrial mammals) (Temblor), US
Pseudaelurus quadridentatus from Oggenhausen 2 (Upper Freshwater Molasse), DE
Pseudaelurus africanus from Rusinga Island (), KE
Pseudaelurus africanus from Songhor (Main Site) (), KE
Pseudaelurus africanus from Karungu (), KE
Pseudaelurus lorteti from Pontigne 3 (), FR
Pseudaelurus turnauensis from Pontigne 4 (marine) (), FR
Pseudaelurus lorteti from Pontigne 4 (marine) (), FR
Pseudaelurus from Grand-Trouve 4 (marine) (), FR
Pseudaelurus lorteti from Grand-Trouve 4 (marine) (), FR
Pseudaelurus romieviensis from Grand-Trouve 4 (marine) (), FR
Pseudaelurus marshi from UCMP V-99563 (Temblor), US
Pseudaelurus validus from Greenside Quarry (Sheep Creek), US
Pseudaelurus validus from Pliohippus Draw (Lower) (Sheep Creek), US
Pseudaelurus validus from Humbug Quarry (Olcott), US
Pseudaelurus validus from Far Surface Quarry (Olcott), US
Pseudaelurus validus from North Wall Quarry (Olcott), US
Pseudaelurus validus from Echo Quarry (Olcott), US
Pseudaelurus from Quatal Canyon South Side 14 (DSC Caliente), US
Pseudaelurus intrepidus from Sharktooth Hill (Temblor), US
Pseudaelurus from Princeton Loc. 1000C (Olcott), US
Pseudaelurus marshi from Observation Quarry (), US
Pseudaelurus stouti from Observation Quarry (), US
Pseudaelurus quadridentatus from En Pejouan (), FR
Pseudaelurus quadridentatus from Malartic, a la ferme Larrieu (), FR
Location of Pseudaelurus grade fossils based on Paleobiology Database.[6] Purple pog.svg, Pseudaelurus; Green pog.svg, Styriofelis; Blue pog.svg, Hyperailurictis; Brown pog.svg: now assigned to Afrosmilus within the family Barbourofelidae.

Traditionally all the Pseudaelurus species from Europe, Asia and North America have been assigned to a single genus, even though the paraphyletic nature of the group has often being noted and several authorities have split Pseudaelurus into separate genera or subgenera, including Hyperailurictis, Styriofelis, Miopanthera and Schizailurus (see Werdelin et al 2010).[7] Pseudaelurus thus represents an evolutionary grade, with several different subgroups containing the ancestors to later felids.

Werdelin el al (2010) suggested dividing Pseudaelurus to represent three separate lineages, each giving rise to a different descendant group of felids. The North American species were assigned to Hyperailurictis, which is ancestral to the North American genus Nimravides. Three European species – P. turnauensis, P. loreti, P. romieviensis – were assigned to Styriofelis (junior synonyms Miopanthera and Schizailurus), which forms the sister taxon to all modern felids, the Felinae sensu lato (i.e. including the pantherine cats). The remaining Eurasian Pseudaelurus species form a sister group to the sabre-toothed cats, the Machairodontinae.

Taxonomic history[edit]

The history of the taxonomy is summarised in the following table.

Species Authority Type locality Status and notes
P. quadridentatus de Blainville 1843 Type species. Originally described as Felis quadridentata; assigned to Pseudaelurus by Gervais 1850.
P. intrepidus Leidy 1858[8] Described as Felis (Pseudaelurus) intrepidus? Considered type species of Hyperailurictis by Kretzoi (1929b)[9] and reassigned to Hyperailurictis by Werdelin et al (2010).[7]
P. edwardsi Filhol 1872 Quercy Phosphorites Formation Recombined as Eofelis edwardsii by Peigné (2000)[10]
P. turnauensis Hoernes 1882 Includes P. transitorius. Considered type species of Styriofelis by Kretzoi (1929a);[11] assigned to Styriofelis by Werdelin et al (2010).[7]
P. lorteti Gaillard 1899 Considered type species of Miopanthera by Kretzoi (1938)[12] and type species of Schizailurus by Viret (1951); assigned to Styriofelis by Werdelin et al (2010).[7]
P. africanus Andrews 1914 Karungu (Kenya) Assigned to Metailurus africanus[13] or Afrosmilus africanus[14]
P. marshi Thorpe 1922[15] Mouth of Minnechaduza Creek (Nebraska, USA) Assigned to Hyperailurictis by Werdelin et al (2010).[7]
P. romieviensis Roman and Viret 1934 Assigned to Styriofelis by Werdelin et al (2010).[7]
P. pedionomus Macdonald 1948a[16] Cherry County, Nebraska Assigned to Nimravides (Beaumont, 1990).[17]
P. thinobates Macdonald 1948b[18] Black Hawk Ranch, California Made type species of Nimravides (Kitt, 1958)[19]
P. aeluroides Macdonald 1954[20] Northeast rim of Sinclair Draw, Sioux County (Nebraska, USA) Probably be synonymous with P. marshi or H. marshi.[21]
P. hibbardi Dalquest 1969[22] Coffee Ranch, Texas Now assigned to Nimravides (?).
P. stouti Schultz and Martin 1972[23] Described as Lynx stouti; assigned to P. stouti;[24] assigned to Hyperailurictis by Werdelin et al (2010).[7]
P. guangheensis Cao et al. 1990
P. cuspidatus Wang et al. 1998
P. validus Rothwell 2001[25] Assigned to Hyperailurictis by Werdelin et al (2010).[7]
P. skinneri Rothwell 2003[21] Assigned to Hyperailurictis by Werdelin et al (2010).[7]
"P." vallesiensis Salesa et al. 2012[26] Batallones-1 and Batallones-3, Spain Described as Styriofelis vallesiensis

Phylogeny and evolutionary developments[edit]

The following cladogram is based on Piras et al (2013)[27] and illustrates the three more derived lineages that evolved from "Pseudaelurus" species


Hyperailurictis skinneri


Nimravides pedionomus

Nimravides thinobates

Hyperailurictis intrepidus

Hyperailurictis validus


Machairodontinae ("sabre-toothed" cats)

Pseudaelurus quadridentatus


Styriofelis lorteti

Styriofelis turnauensis

Felinae sensu lato

Felini (equivalent to Felinae sensu stricto; feline cats)

Pantherini (equivalent to Pantherinae; pantherine cats of genera Panthera and Neofelis)

(conical-toothed cats)

Proailurus lemanensis


  1. ^ Tedford et al. 1987
  2. ^ a b c d Rothwell 2003
  3. ^ Turner, Alan; Antón, Mauricio (1997). The Big Cats and their fossil relatives. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10228-3.
  4. ^ Augusti 2002
  5. ^ Rothwell 2001
  6. ^ "Pseudaelurus". The data were downloaded from the Paleobiology Database on June 27, 2017 using the taxon name 'Pseudaelurus'. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Werdelin, L; O'Brien, S.J.; Johnson, W.E.; Yamaguchi, N. (2010). "Phylogeny and evolution of cats (Felidae)" (PDF). In Macdonald, D.W.; Loveridge, A.J. Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  8. ^ J. Leidy. 1858. Notice of Remains of Extinct Vertebrata, from the Valley of the Niobrara River, Collected during the Exploring Expedition of 1857, in Nebraska, under the Command of Lieut. G. K. Warren, U. S. Top. Eng., by Dr. F. V. Hayden, Geologist to the Expedition. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 10:15-89
  9. ^ Kretzoi 1929. Materialien zur phylogenetischen Klassifikation der Aeluroideen. Int Cong Zool Budapest, 10 1929: pp. 1293-1355
  10. ^ Peigné, S. (2000). "A new species of Eofelis (Carnivora: Nimravidae) from the Phosphorites of Quercy, France". Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, Série IIA. 330 (9): 653–658.
  11. ^ Kretzoi, M. (1929). Feliden-Studien. A Magyar Királyi Földtani Intézet Hazinyomdaja, 24: 1-22.
  12. ^ Kretzoi M (1938) Die Raubtiere von Gombaszög nebst einer Übersicht der Gesamtfauna. Ann Mus Nat Hungar 31: 88–157
  13. ^ unknown
  14. ^ J. Morales, M. Pickford, and M. J. Salesa. 2008. Creodonta and Carnivora from the Early Miocene of the Northern Sperrgebiet, Namibia. Memoir of the Geological Survey of Namibia 20:291-310
  15. ^ M. R. Thorpe. 1922. Some Tertiary Carnivora in the Marsh collection, with descriptions of new forms. American Journal of Science 3(18):423-455
  16. ^ J. R. Macdonald. 1948. A new species of Pseudaelurus from the Lower Pliocene of Nebraska. University of California Publications, Bulletin of the Department of Geological Sciences 28(2):45-52
  17. ^ Beaumont, G. 1990. Contribution à l'étude du genre Nimravides Kitts (Mammalia, Carnivora, Felidae). L'espèce N. pedionomus (Macdonald). Archives des Sciences, Genève 43:125–157.
  18. ^ Macdonald, J.R. 1948b. The Pliocene carnivores of the Black Hawk Ranch fauna. University of California Publications in Geological Sciences 28: 53–80.
  19. ^ D. B. Kitts. 1958. Nimravides, a New Genus of Felidae from the Pliocene of California, Texas and Oklahoma. Journal of Mammalogy 39(3):368-375
  20. ^ J. R. Macdonald. 1954. A new Pseudaelurus from the lower Snake Creek fauna of Nebraska. Journal of Paleontology 28(1):67-69
  21. ^ a b Rothwell, T. (2003). "Phylogenetic systematics of North American Pseudaelurus (Carnivora: Felidae)". American Museum Novitates. 3403: 1–64. ISSN 0003-0082.
  22. ^ W. W. Dalquest. 1969. Pliocene carnivores of the Coffee Ranch. Texas Memorial Museum Bulletin 15:1-43
  23. ^ C. B. Schultz and L. D. Martin. 1972. Bulletin of the Nebraska State Museum 9(7)
  24. ^ T. Rothwell. 2003. Phylogenetic systematics of North American Pseudaelurus (Carnivora: Felidae). American Museum Novitates 3403:1-64
  25. ^ T. M. Rothwell. 2001. A Partial Skeleton of Pseudaelurus (Carnivora: Felidae) from the Nambé Member of the Tesuque Formation, Española Basin, New Mexico. American Museum Novitates 3342:1-31
  26. ^ Salesa, Manuel J.; Antón, Mauricio; Morales, Jorge; Peigné, Stéphane (2012). "Systematics and phylogeny of the small felines (Carnivora, Felidae) from the Late Miocene of Europe: a new species of Felinae from the Vallesian of Batallones (MN 10, Madrid, Spain)". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 10 (1): 87–102. doi:10.1080/14772019.2011.566584. ISSN 1477-2019.
  27. ^ Piras, P.; Maiorino, L.; Teresi, L.; Meloro, C.; Lucci, F.; Kotsakis, T.; Raia, P. (2013). "Bite of the Cats: Relationships between Functional Integration and Mechanical Performance as Revealed by Mandible Geometry". Systematic Biology. 62 (6): 878–900. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syt053. ISSN 1063-5157. PMID 23925509.


  • Augusti, Jordi (2002). Mammoths, Sabertooths and Hominids: 65 Million Years of Mammalian Evolution in Europe. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-11640-3.
  • Christiansen, Per (2008). "Phylogeny of the great cats (Felidae: Pantherinae), and the influence of fossil taxa and missing characters". Cladistics. 24 (6): 977. doi:10.1111/j.1096-0031.2008.00226.x.
  • Gervais, Paul (1850). "Zoologie et paléontologie françaises. Nouvelles recherches sur les animaux vertébrés dont on trouve les ossements enfouis dans les sol de le France et sur leur comparaison avec les espèces propres aux autres regions du globe". Zoologie et Paléontologie Françaises. 8: 1–271.
  • Rothwell, Tom (2001). "A partial skeleton of Pseudaelurus (Carnivora, Felidae) from the Nambé Member of the Tesuque Formation, Española Basin, New Mexico". American Museum Novitates. 3342: 1–31. doi:10.1206/0003-0082(2001)342<0001:APSOPC>2.0.CO;2. uri:
  • Rothwell, Tom (2003). "Phylogenetic Systematics of North American Pseudaelurus (Carnivora: Felidae)". American Museum Novitates. 2403: 1–64. doi:10.1206/0003-0082(2003)403<0001:PSONAP>2.0.CO;2.
  • Tedford, R. H.; Galusha, T.; Skinner, M. F.; Taylor, B. E.; Fields, R. W.; Macdonald, J. R.; Rensberger, J. M.; Webb, S. D.; and Whistler, D.P. (1987). "Faunal succession and biochronology of the Arikareean through Hemphillian interval (late Oligocene through earliest Pliocene epochs) in North America". in Woodburne, M. O. Cenozoic mammals of North America: Geochronology and biostratigraphy. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 153–210. ISBN 0-520-05392-3.
  • Turner, Alan (1997). The Big Cats and their fossil relatives. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10228-3.

External links[edit]