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Temporal range: Oligocene–Early Miocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Superfamily: Arctoidea
Family: Amphicyonidae
Subfamily: Temnocyoninae
Temnocyonines range.png
Range of temnocyonines based on fossil record

The Temnocyoninae are an extinct subfamily of medium-sized carnivorous mammals within the family Amphicyonidae endemic to North America that lived during the Oligocene to Early Miocene about 30.3—20.6 million years ago (Mya) existing around 30.3-20.6 million years.[1]


Temnocyon was named by Cope (1879). Its type is Temnocyon altigenis. It was assigned to the Amphicyonidae by Cope (1879) and Carroll (1988), and to the Temnocyoninae by Hunt (1998).[2]

Mammacyon was named by Loomis (1936).[3] Its type is Mammacyon obtusidens. It was assigned to the Amphicyonidae by Loomis (1936) and Carroll (1988), and to the Temnocyoninae by Hunt (1998).[4]


A single specimen of Temnocyon was examined for by body mass by Legendre and Roth. It was estimated to have weighed 21.3 kg (47 lb).[5]

Fossil distribution[edit]

The first fossils are recorded in North America at Logan Butte in the John Day beds of Oregon 29–29.5 Mya, in the Sharps Formation of the Wounded Knee area, South Dakota 28–29.5 Mya, and in the Gering Formation at Wildcat Ridge, Nebraska 28.3 Mya. These early temnocyonines attained the size of coyotes or small wolves (15–30 kg), and are identified by a uniquely specialized dentition. The last documented occurrences of temnocyonines are found in sediments in northwest Nebraska and southeastern Wyoming.[6]


  1. ^ PaleoBiology Database: Temnocyon, basic info
  2. ^ R. M. Hunt. 1998. Amphicyonidae. 196-227
  3. ^ F. B. Loomis. 1936. Journal of Paleontology 10(1)
  4. ^ R. M. Hunt. 1998. Amphicyonidae. in C. M. Janis, K. M. Scott, and L. L. Jacobs 196-227
  5. ^ S. Legendre and C. Roth. 1988. Correlation of carnassial tooth size and body weight in recent carnivores (Mammalia). Historical Biology 1(1):85-98
  6. ^ Hunt, Robert M, Jr. (2004) "Global Climate and the Evolution of Large Mammalian Carnivores during the Later Cenozoic in North America" in Cenozoic Carnivores and Global Climate by Robert M. Hunt, Jr.[1]