Hyaenodon Molar and Associated Bones
Order Creodonta, Family Hyaenodontidae
Time: Late Eocene (~36 million years ago)
mm = 1 inch): Tooth: 20 mm wide by 27 mm high (including root) Jawbone:
60 mm by 15 mm Matrix:
Euzet-les-Banes, Gard, France
Creodonts were the dominant carnivorous mammals of the early Tetriary,
comprised of the Oxyaenidae and the Hyaenidontidae. The Hyaenodontids
ranged throughout the Northern Hemisphere, even reaching Africa.
The largest was known as Megistrotherium, and had a skull twice
as long as a modern tiger, making it the largest known land mammal
carnivore. The extinction of the Hyyaenodontids still remains a
mystery today. This fine piece shows a molar of Hyaenodon requieni
in association with a jaw fragment and a few other bones. This
specimen comes from an historically significant site in that is
was studied by Georges Cuvier, the 19th century scientist who was
instrumental in founding comparative anatomy and paleontology.
He was an advocate of catastrophism in the evolution of life rather
than a slow gradual change. His thoughts later became what is now
known as punctuated equilibrium as advocated by Niles Eldridge
and Steven Jay Gould. The site has been closed for some 12 years
now, so only older specimens such as this one are available.
fossil pictures to enlarge