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Temporal range: Late Oligocene
Sespia ultima californica.JPG
Sespia ultima and S. californica
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Merycoidodontidae
Tribe: Sespiini
Genus: Sespia
Stock, 1930
Type species
Leptauchenia nitida
  • S. nitida
  • S. californica
  • S. heterodon
  • S. nitida
  • S. ultima
  • Megasespia Schultz and Falkenbach, 1968

Sespia ("of Sespe Creek") is an extinct genus of oreodont, endemic to North America during the Whitneyan stage of the Oligocene-Late Oligocene epochs (30.8—24.8 mya) existing for approximately 6 million years.[1]


Sespia was named by Schultz and Falkenbach (1968) as a subgenus of Leptauchenia by Stock in 1930; transferred to Cyclopidius by Schlaikjer 1935, Thorpe 1937. Its type is Leptauchenia nitida. It was assigned to Merycoidodontidae by Schultz and Falkenbach (1968) and Lander (1998).[2]


Restoration of S. nitida as a semi-aquatic animal

Sespia was domestic-cat- to goat-sized and desert-dwelling. The genus was closely related to the larger Leptauchenia.

A single specimen was examined by M. Mendoza for body mass and estimated to have a weight of 4.65 kg (10.2 lbs).[3]

Fossil distribution[edit]

Fossils of the best known species, the cat-sized S. californica, have been found California, namely, in Chula Vista, and Carlsbad, and is known from literally thousands of specimens. The largest species, the goat-sized S. ultima, is known from late Oligocene deposits in Nebraska. S. ultima was once placed in a separate, monotypic genus, as Megasespia middleswarti. Other species were once placed within Leptauchenia.


S. californica, S. heterodon, S. nitida (syn. Leptauchenia minora, S. marianae), S. ultima (syn. Megasespia middleswarti).

Sister genera[edit]

Limnenetes (ancestral), Leptauchenia (syn. Brachymeryx, Cyclopidius, Hadroleptauchenia, Pithecistes, Pseudocyclopidius)


  1. ^ PaleoBiology Database: Sespia, basic info
  2. ^ C. B. Schultz and C. H. Falkenbach. 1968. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 139
  3. ^ M. Mendoza, C. M. Janis, and P. Palmqvist. 2006. Estimating the body mass of extinct ungulates: a study on the use of multiple regression. Journal of Zoology

External links[edit]