Cynodictis (name meaning "Slender Dog"), often called a Bear-dog, is a genus of extinct, small carnivorous bear-dog mammal that originated during the Oligocene epoch.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Cynodictis lived during the Late Oligocene, over 28–23 million years ago. It was first discovered by Bravard and Pomel in 1850.
Cynodictis was considerably small compared to other members of its kind; only being slightly larger than the modern day opossum with a height of 30 centimetres (1 ft).
It was one of the many species of a group of animals commonly known as "bear dogs", which, as the name suggests, had several characteristics of bears and dogs. But they were only related to the said animals, not ancestors or transitional forms.
Like dogs, they walked on their toes.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Cynodictis had great speed and it would use this speed to hunt its prey, such as rabbits and small rodents, though they sometimes would scavenge. Because of their small size, they feared the larger carnivores in their region, such as Hyaenodon.
However, a mother Cynodictis would be brave enough to attack animals as large as a juvenile Paraceratherium to protect her young. The pups would feed on the milk of their mother in their early life before switching to food provided by their caretaker.
It lived in dens in steep riverbanks that were built by itself lined with moulted fur and vegetation. These dens would also used by Cynodictis mothers to raise their pups. However, there was always a risk of living in their dens, as they would sometimes be destroyed by flash floods which would kill the inhabitants inside. These bear dogs would give birth to up to five pups where they be cared for by their mother for several months.
Although these animals were ancestors of both bears and dogs and were also vicious little predators, to them, it was size that counted in the Oligocene.