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Enhydrocyon is an extinct genus of bone crushing omnivorous early canid which inhabited North America during the Oligocene to Early Miocene, 30.8—20.4 Ma, existing for approximately 11 million years. [1]

Temporal range: Oligocene–Early Miocene
A Lower Miocene fauna from South Dakota (1907) fig. 6.png
Enhydrocyon head restoration.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Subfamily: Hesperocyoninae
Genus: Enhydrocyon
Cope, 1879
Type species
Enhydrocyon stenocephalus

See text

Enhydrocyon range.png
Range of Enhydrocyon fossil evidence

Enhydrocyon's dentition suggests this animal was a hypercarnivore or mesocarnivore.[2] Species of Enhydrocyon were large, powerfully built carnivores with a short snout and deep jaws reminiscent of a jaguar.[3] This gives the skull a shape similar to that of the living sea otter (Enhydra), prompting the scientific name.[4] With an estimated weight of about 10 kilograms (22 lb), they were the earliest genus of truly predatory canid.[4]


  • Enhydrocyon basilatus Cope 1879
  • E. crassidens Matthew 1907
  • E. pahinsintewakpa Macdonald 1963
  • E. sectorius Cope 1883
  • E. stenocephalus Cope 1879


  1. ^ Enhydrocyon at fossilworks
  2. ^ R. M. Nowak. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. Maryland, Johns Hopkins University Press (edited volume) II
  3. ^ David Macdonald. The Velvet Claw: A Natural History of the Carnivores. BBC Books: London; 1992. p83.
  4. ^ a b Wang, Xiaoming; Tedford, Richard H. (2008). Dogs, Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History. Columbia. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-231-13528-3.
  • Wang, X. (1994). "Phylogenetic systematics of the Hesperocyoninae (Carnivora, Canidae)". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 221: 1–207. hdl:2246/829.