Creodont

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Creodonta
Temporal range: early Palaeocene to early Miocene, 58–8 mya
Sarkastodon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Eutheria
Superorder: Laurasiatheria
Order: Creodonta
(Cope, 1875)

The creodonts are an extinct order of mammals that lived from the Palaeocene to the Miocene epochs. They shared a common ancestor with the Carnivora, but they are placed outside the Carnivoramorpha.

The first creodont fossils were in the later Palaeocene, ~58 million years ago (mya), and the last 8 mya.

They were especially important in the Eocene and Oligocene of Africa, Eurasia and North America. In Oligocene Africa, they were the dominant predatory group.

They competed with the Mesonychids and the Entelodonts and ultimately outlasted them.

Finally, they lost ground to the true Carnivora, who now occupy their ecological niches. The creodonts lasted for a minimum of 50 million years.

Adaptations[change | edit source]

Creodonts show various adaptations to their carnivorous life-style, and show convergent evolution with modern carnivores. They share, for example, the carnassial shear, a modification of teeth that sliced meat like scissors.

The Carnivora also developed larger brains and more efficient running. Once forest and woodland was partly replaced by grassland, in the Miocene, the true carnivores had the advantage, and the creodonts lost ground and eventually became extinct.