Temporal range: early to middle Miocene 20.43–13.6 Ma
|Tomarctus temerarius skull|
|Range of Tomarctus based on fossil distribution|
Tomarctus is a canine of the extinct subfamily Borophaginae which inhabited most of North America during the late Early Miocene to the Early Barstovian age of the Middle Miocene (23—16 mya). Tomarctus existed for approximately .
Tomarctus evolved from the earlier genus Nothocyon. This animal shared a period of time and ecology with a variety of other bear dogs like the giant mustelid genus of bone-crushing canidae, Cynarctoides. As the bear dogs and giant mustelids became extinct, Tomarctus further radiated to fill a line of dogs which filled the hyena-like fruit eating and bone-crushing niches.
The genus currently contains two accepted species, Tomarctus brevirostris and Tomarctus hippophaga.
Tomarctus brevirostris, synonymous with Aelurodon francisi, was named by Edward Drinker Cope in 1873. Fossil specimens have been found as far south as Panama, east to Plum Point, Maryland, west to California, and north to Montana.
Tomarctus hippophaga was first described by Matthew and Cook in 1909 from the Trojan Quarry, Olcott Formation, Nebraska. Specimens have since been found as far west as California and as far north as the Montana/Alberta, Canada line.
- Martin, L.D. 1989. Fossil history of the terrestrial carnivora. Pages 536 - 568 in J.L. Gittleman, editor. Carnivore Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution, Vol. 1. Comstock Publishing Associates: Ithaca.
- Tedford, R.H. 1978. History of dogs and cats: A view from the fossil record. Pages 1 – 10 in Nutrition and Management of Dogs and Cats. Ralston Purina Co.: St. Louis.
- - Bio One Data Base - Tomarctus
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