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This article is about an extinct family of mammals. For the extant family, see Viverridae.
Temporal range: Paleocene-Eocene 66–40 Ma
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
(unranked): Carnivoramorpha
Superfamily: Miacoidea
Family: Viverravidae
Wortman & Matthew 1899, p. 136[1]


Viverravidae is an extinct family within the superfamily Miacoidea. They are related to carnivorans, and lived from the early Palaeocene to the Eocene.

In viverravids, the number of molars is reduced to two and the skull is elongated. Viverravidae is a monophyletic family, a plesion-group. They are not thought to be ancestral to any extant carnivorans.[2]

The viverravids were thought to be the earliest carnivorans: they first appeared in the Paleocene of North America about 60 million years ago. One author proposed that they should be placed outside the order Carnivora based on cranial morphology.[3]

Wang and Tedford propose that they arose in North America 65-60 million years ago, spread to Asia then later to Europe, and were the first carnivorans and possessed the first true pair of carnassial teeth.[4]:p8


Taxonomy retrieved from the Paleobiology Database[5]

  • Family †Viverravidae Wortman and Matthew 1899 (synonym: Didymictidae Flynn and Galiano 1982)
    • Genus †Didymictis Cope 1875
      • Didymictis altidens Cope 1880
      • Didymictis leptomylus Cope 1880
      • Didymictis protenus Cope 1874 (synonym: Didymictis curtidens Cope 1882)
      • Didymictis proteus Polly 1997 (synonym: Didymictis dellensis Dorr 1952)
      • Didymictis vancleveae Robinson 1966
    • Genus †Orientictis Huang and Zheng 2005
      • Orientictis spanios Huang and Zheng 2005
    • Genus †Preonictis Tong and Wang 2006
      • Preonictis youngi Tong and Wang 2006
    • Genus †Protictis Matthew
      • Subgenus. †Protictis (Bryanictis) MacIntyre 1966
        • Bryanictis microlestes Simpson 1935
        • Bryanictis paulus Meehan and Wilson 2002
      • Subg. †Protictis (Protictis) Matthew 1937
      • Subg. †Protictis (Protictoides) Flynn and Galiano 1982
        • Protictoides aprophatos Flynn and Galiano 1982
      • Protictis agastor Gingerich and Winkler 1985
      • Protictis haydenianus Cope 1882 (synonyms: Didymictis primus Cope 1884, Prolimnocyon macfaddeni Rigby, Jr. 1980)
      • Protictis minor Meehan and Wilson 2002
      • Protictis paralus Holtzman 1978
      • Protictis simpsoni Meehan and Wilson 2002
    • Genus †Simpsonictis MacIntyre 1962
      • Simpsonictis jaynanneae Rigby, Jr. 1980
      • Simpsonictis pegus Gingerich and Winkler 1985
      • Simpsonictis tenuis Simpson 1935
    • G. †Variviverra Tong and Wang 2006
      • Variviverra vegetatus Tong and Wang 2006
    • Genus †Viverravus Marsh 1872
      • Viverravus acutus Matthew and Granger 1915
      • Viverravus gracilis Marsh 1872 (type species)(synonyms: Didymictis dawkinsianus Cope 1881, Harpalodon vulpinus Marsh 1872, Triacodon fallax Marsh 1871, Ziphacodon rugatus Marsh 1872)
      • Viverravus lawsoni Hooker 2010
      • Viverravus laytoni Gingerich and Winkler 1985 (synonym: Viverravus bowni Gingerich 1987)
      • Viverravus lutosus Gazin 1952
      • Viverravus minutus Wortman 1901
      • Viverravus nitidus Marsh 1872
      • Viverravus politus Matthew and Granger 1915 (synonym: Protictis schaffi Gingerich and Winkler 1985)
      • Viverravus rosei Polly 1997
      • Viverravus sicarius Matthew 1909 (synonym: Ziphacodon Marsh 1872)
    • Genus †Viverriscus Beard and Dawson 2009
      • Viverriscus omnivorus Beard and Dawson 2009
    • incertae sedis:


  1. ^ Wortman, J. L.; Matthew, W. D. (1899). "The ancestry of certain members of the Canidae, Viverridae, and Procyonidae". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 12: 109–138. OCLC 46687698. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  2. ^ Wesley-Hunt, G.D.; Flynn, J.J. (2005). "Phylogeny of the Carnivora: basal relationships among the carnivoramorphans, and assessment of the position of 'Miacoidea' relative to Carnivora". Journal of Systematic Paleontology. 3: 1–28. doi:10.1017/S1477201904001518. 
  3. ^ Polly, David, Gina D. Wesley-Hunt, Ronald E. Heinrich, Graham Davis and Peter Houde (2006). "Earliest known carnivoran auditory bulla and support for a recent origin of crown-clade carnivora (Eutheria, Mammalia)" (PDF). Palaeontology. 49 (5): 1019–1027. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2006.00586.x. 
  4. ^ Wang, Xiaoming; Tedford, Richard H.; Dogs: Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008.
  5. ^ Paleobiology Database. Retrieved with Fossilworks (March 3, 2017)
  6. ^ Zack, Shawn P. (2012). "Deciduous dentition of Didymictis(Carnivoramorpha: Viverravidae): implications for the first appearance of "Creodonta"". Journal of Mammalogy. 93 (3): 808–817. doi:10.1644/11-MAMM-A-245.1. ISSN 0022-2372.