October 25, 2021

Chasmaporthetes is an extinct genus of hyena native to Eurasia, North America and Africa from the Plio-Pleistocene period about 5.3 to 0.78 million years ago. The genus probably originated from Miocene Eurasian hyenas, such as the genera Thalassictis or Lycyaena. The oldest representative of the genus Chasmaporthes was Ch. borissiaki. Species Ch. ossifragus from about 5 to 1.5 million years ago was the only species of hyena that crossed the land bridge in the Bering Strait and penetrated the American continent. The genus Chasmaporthetes belonged to a group of hyenas that resembled canines in their morphology. Unlike most recent species, they were fast hunters with slender limbs.


The species, classified as hyenas (Hyaenidae), was described by the American paleontologist Oliver Perry Hay in 1921. The name is based on the English "chasm" ("abyss") and the Greek "πορθευτής" ("destroyer"). At least 9 species are known: Chasmaporthetes lunensis Del Campana, 1914 Chasmaporthetes ossifragus Hay, 1921 Chasmaporthetes borissiaki Khomenko, 1932 Chasmaporthetes australis Hendey, 1974 Chasmaporthetes bonisi Koufos, 1987 Chasmaporthetes exitelus Kurtén & Werdelin, 1988 Chasmaporthetes nitidula Geraads, 1997 Chasmaporthetes melei Rook et al, 2004 Chasmaporthetes gangsriensis Tseng, Li, & Wang, 2013


The genus Chasmaporthetes had long and slender limbs like cheetahs and was probably a diurnal predator of open habitats. The European species Chasmaporthetes lunensis was probably a food competitor to the large cheetah Acinonyx pardinensis, hunting ungulates such as Gazella borbonica or Procamptoceras brivatense. The North American Chasmaporthetes ossifragus had a body structure similar to the European Chasmaporthetes lunensis, but with more robust jaws and teeth. He may have hunted a giant marmot of the genus Paenemarmota and was probably a food competitor to the larger canines of the genus Borophagus. The genus Chasmaporthetes was probably a hypermassage.



This article uses material from the English Wikipedia article Chasmaporthetes.

External links

Pictures, sounds or videos about Chasmaporthetes on Wikimedia Commons Taxon Chasmaporthetes in Wikidruzze BLACK, Riley. Prehistoric Hyena’s Teeth Show Bone-Crushing Carnivore Roamed the Arctic [online]. Smithsonian Magazine, 2019-06-19 [cit. 2021-08-07]. Available online. (English)

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