Open main menu

Leptocyon (Greek: "slender dog"[1]) is an extinct genus of small canid endemic to North America. It lived during the Oligocene and Miocene epochs, 31 to 10 million years ago.[2] They are the most primitive known members of the Caninae, the subfamily to which all living dogs and foxes belong.[3]

Temporal range: Oligocene to Miocene 30.8–10.3 Ma
Leptocyon gregorii holotype AMNH 12879.jpg
Drawing of the holotype skull of Leptocyon gregorii
Leptocyon head restoration.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Subfamily: Caninae
Genus: Leptocyon
Matthew, 1918
  • L. delicatus Loomis 1932
  • L. gregorii Matthew 1907
  • L. vafer Leidy 1858
  • L. vulpinus Matthew 1907
Leptocyon range map.png
Fossil range of Leptocyon species

Neocynodesmus Macdonald 1963

Leptocyon was a small-bodied, fox-like animal with a slender jaw,[4] weighing less than 2 kilograms (4.4 lb). They were probably omnivorous, feeding on small animals and fruit, and remained relatively unchanged for millions of years. One species, L. delicatus, was the smallest known canid.[3]


  1. ^ "Leptocyon". Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  2. ^ PaleoBiology Database: Leptocyon, basic info
  3. ^ a b Wang, Xiaoming; Tedford, Richard H. (2008). Dogs, Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History. Columbia. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-231-13528-3.
  4. ^ Evolution of Tertiary Mammals of North America: Terrestrial animals of North America Volume 1, Terrestrial Carnivores, Ungulates, and Ungulate like Mammals. Christine M. Janis carnivores. Louis L. Jacobs, Kathleen Marie Scott.

External linksEdit