Patriofelis, drawing by Charles R. Knight.

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia

The Oxyaenidae are an extinct family of carnivorous mammals that occurred in North America, Europe and Asia. They appeared with the North American, cats large Tytthaena already in the middle Paleocene and died in North America in the middle years, in Europe and Asia with the end of the Eocene from.


Oxyaenidae had a physical resemblance with today's cats, civets and martens, which they are but not closely related. Her body was elongated, legs and tail were short. They were plantigrade and not adapted to fast running. The mobility of their feet enabled it to climb trees but them.

Your jaw harbored a crushing scissor bite, that was not as well developed in the smaller forms from the Paleocene as in later genera. The crushing scissors was formed at the Oxyaenidae of the entire molar series, with emphasis on the first molar tooth ( molar) in the upper jaw and the second molar tooth in the lower jaw. The possibly related Hyaenodontidae had the second molar in the upper jaw and the third in the lower jaw of greater importance. During the recent predators of the fourth premolar in the upper jaw and the first molar in the lower jaw

Probably the Oxyaenidae were opportunistic predators that ate small mammals, birds, insects and eggs, similar to the civets today. Dipsalodon from the late Paleocene and Palaeonictis from the same period and the early Eocene had powerful jaws and robust, adapted to the breaking of bones teeth. You might have been scavengers. While early Oxyaenidae were rather small, and between 3 kg to 8 kg weighed, Oxyaena was about as big as a wolf and the Palaeonictis Peloria known only from an incomplete, about 20 cm long jaw was the largest predator in its habitat.

Outer systematics

The Oxyaenidae are provided along with the dog or hyena -like Hyaenodontidae in the order of Creodonta, called in German also Urraubtiere. The Oxyaenidae appeared, however, already in the middle Paleocene in the fossil record and also died earlier than the Hyaenodontidae again. Both families share no synapomorphies, so that the validity of the taxon Creodonta is doubted. Together with the recent carnivores ( Carnivora ) and pangolins ( Manidae ) form the Oxyaenidae and Hyaenodontidae the taxon ferae.

Inside systematics

  • Family Oxyaenidae Subfamily Ambloctoninae genus Ambloctonus
  • Genus Dipsalodon
  • Genus Dormaalodon
  • Genus Palaeonictis
  • Genus Dipsalidictis
  • Genus Malfelis
  • Genus Oxyaena
  • Genus Patriofelis
  • Genus Protopsalis
  • Genus Sarkastodon
  • Genus Tytthaena
  • Genus Apataelurus
  • Genus Machaeroides