Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Maybe so, maybe not: Canis lepophagus at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Idaho, USA

January 1, 2022

A canid dentary is described from the Pliocene Glenns Ferry Formation at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, south-central Idaho, USA. The specimen possesses traits in alliance with and measurements falling within or exceeding those of Canis lepophagus. The dentary, along with a tarsal IV (cuboid) and an exploded canine come from the base of the fossiliferous Sahara complex within the monument. Improved geochronologic control provided by new tephrochronologic mapping by the U.S. Geological Survey-National Park Service Hagerman Paleontology, Environments, and Tephrochronology Project supports an interpolated age of approximately 3.9 Ma, placing it in the early Blancan North American Land Mammal Age. It is conservatively referred to herein as Canis aff. C. lepophagus with the caveat that it is an early and robust example of that species. A smaller canid, initially assigned to Canis lepophagus and then to Canis ferox, is also known from Hagerman. Most specimens of Canis ferox, including the holotype, were recently reassigned to Eucyon ferox, but specimens from the Hagerman and Rexroad faunas were left as Canis sp. and possibly attributed to C. lepophagus. We agree that these smaller canids belong in Canis and not Eucyon but reject placing them within C. lepophagus; we refer to them here as Hagerman-Rexroad Canis. This study confirms the presence of two approximately coyote-sized canids at Hagerman and adds to the growing list of carnivorans now known from these fossil beds.

Publication Year 2022
Title Maybe so, maybe not: Canis lepophagus at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Idaho, USA
DOI 10.1007/s10914-021-09591-4
Authors Kari A Prassack, Laura Walkup
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Mammalian Evolution
Index ID 70228054
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center