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Amphicyon (am-fih-sigh-on) was a genus of large predatory mammal that lived during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs.

Characteristics[]

The largest Amphicyon species could grow to about 2.5 meters in length, 1.1 meters in height, and have a mass in excess of 600 kg.

Amphicyon is popularly referred to as the "bear dog." While not a bear nor a dog, it was comparable in some ways, possessing a dog-like head and a stocky bear-like body.

In online reconstructions, it is often portrayed incorrectly as a "digitigrade," meaning an animal that walked on its toes. Dogs, for example, are digitigrades. The toe acts as a foot and the foot gives the illusion of an extra joint. Amphicyonids were "plantigrades," meaning their back feet would be flat on the ground, similar to humans or bears.

The living creature[]

The largest Amphicyon species would be apex predators, capable of wrestling down powerful prey like Chalicotherium. For a while, Amphicyon species coexisted with creodonts like Hyaenodon and enteledonts like Daeodon.

Importance[]

Amphicyonids played an important role in Miocene ecology. Amphicyon species are known to have existed on every continent except Antarctica and South America.