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Harpagolestes uintensis



A predatory mammal from North America about 55-38 million years ago. It looks rather ursine, but in fact its closest living relatives are even-toed ungulates - pigs, camels, sheep, goats, bovines, hippos, giraffes, and distantly to whales!

Paleontology is awesome.

This was a heavily built animal, with a long, low-slung body and short but sturdy legs that indicated a cursorial (running) hunting style. Think basset hound the size of a grizzly - and throw in a bit of hyena. Harpagolestes had an incredibly massive skull, with huge jaw-clasing muscles and worn teeth which suggest it routinely cracked bones, and it may have been a scavenger. But then again, grizzlies are surprisingly quick on their feet when they stir themselves, so this is probably another good reason for tourists to keeps their arms and heads inside the time machine.

Inspired by an article on Tetropod Zoology about mesonychids: [link]
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