Early fossil discovered hypercarnivore

© San Diego Museum of Natural History (detail)

Mandibular bone of deguilleurus | The fossil was discovered in 1988 at a construction site in Oceanside, California.

bones Diego Illoros They are similar to those of other members of the Machaeroidinae family, explains Ashley Post, co-author of the study and a paleontologist at the Museum of Natural History in San Diego. However, what is unusual is the shape and size of the teeth, the spaces between them, and the shape of that part of the chin that protrudes downward to protect a dog’s teeth.

Specialized in meat consumption

According to Post Diego Illoros It was one of the first mammals to be reasonably successful as an extreme carnivore – eating more than 70 percent of meat, as do domestic cats, lions, and today’s polar bears. But despite his teeth Diego Illoros Excellent carnivores, it may also have been one of the reasons for the animals’ extinction: they made it difficult for them to eat other foods. “at Diego Illoros “There are very few molars left other than the incisors, similar to what happens in cats alive today,” explains study author Sean Zack of the University of Arizona School of Medicine in Phoenix.

The fossil provides new clues about how members of Machaeroidae once evolved. this is how he lived Diego Illoros At the same time for representatives Abatilorus It is from the same sub-family that lives in the Wenta Basin in Utah. Zack explains that this indicates that the macroroids were more diverse than previously thought. “It has always been possible that it was a single animal species, evolving over time and passing from one species to another. This is the first time that we have had fairly conclusive evidence that there were at least two different Macaroids, and quite different at the time.”

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