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Skull of Proborhyaena by Zimices Skull of Proborhyaena by Zimices
Hypothetical reconstruction of the skull of Proborhyaena gigantea, the largest of the sparassodonts, the predatory relatives of the marsupials that inhabited South America during the Cenozoic. Proborhyaena has been discovered in Argentina and Uruguay, in sediments of the Deseadan epoch (lower Oligocene) and gives its name to the Proborhyaenidae, a family characterized by their large skulls, long evergrowing canines and very robust jaws. Although cleary is a big animal, exists certain myths arounds its size, due to the incomplete remains. For example, that it was a kind of "marsupial bear" had a skull of over 60 cm. (two feet) in length, a size originally reported in the scientific literature in 1977 by Larry Marshall, however using the most complete relative of Proborhyaena, Callistoe vincei (which is known from a complete skull and most of its skeleton) appears that its skull measures over 40 cm, like an African lion... Also there is a weigth estimation mande by Sorkin in 2008, of 600 kg, in a paper with suspiciously high estimations, and the most recent estimations from researchers like Natalia Zimicz and Fernando Goin shows a range between 93 to 220 kg, more comparable to the marsupial lions from Australia (still, is larger than the other big sparassodonts, like Thylacosmilus and Arctodictis).

As you can see, the skull showed here is made of three different specimens, and completed with the skull of Callistoe.

References:

Argot, C., & Babot, J. (2011). Postcranial morphology, functional adaptations and palaeobiology of Callistoe vincei, a predaceous metatherian from the Eocene of Salta, north‐western Argentina. Palaeontology, 54(2), 447-480.

Babot, M. J., Powell, J. E., & de Muizon, C. (2002). Callistoe vincei, a new Proborhyaenidae (Borhyaenoidea, Metatheria, Mammalia) from the early Eocene of Argentina. Geobios, 35(5), 615-629.

Bond, M., & Rosendo, P. (1983). Nuevos y elocuentes restos craneanos de Proborhyaena gigantea Ameghino, 1897 (Marsupialia, Borhyaenidae, Proborhyaeninae) de la Edad Deseadense. Un ejemplo de coevolución. Ameghiniana, 20(1-2), 47-60.

Goin, F. J., Woodburne, M. O., Zimicz, A. N., Martin, G. M., & Chornogubsky, L. (2016). Paleobiology and Adaptations of Paleogene Metatherians. In A Brief History of South American Metatherians (pp. 185-208). Springer Netherlands.

Marshall, L. G. (1977). Evolution of the carnivorous adaptive zone in South America. In Major patterns in vertebrate evolution (pp. 709-721). Springer US.

Mones, A., & Ubilla M. (1978). La edad Deseadense (Oligoceno inferior) de la formación Fray Bentos y su contenido paleontológico, con especial referencia a la presencia de Proborhyaena cf. gigantea Ameghino (Marsupialia: Borhyaenidae) en el Uruguay. Nota preliminar. Comunicaciones Paleontológicas del Museo de Historia Natural de Montevideo. 7 (1), 151-158.

Sorkin, B. (2008). A biomechanical constraint on body mass in terrestrial mammalian predators. Lethaia, 41(4), 333-347.

Zimicz, A. N. (2013). Ecomorfología de los marsupiales paleógenos de América del Sur (Doctoral dissertation, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo).

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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2018
How massive do you think Paraborhyaena was? 60lb or so?
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2018  Hobbyist
My information is that it weights over 70-90 kg.
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2018
That's....a lot bigger than I expected.
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:iconcaspion161:
caspion161 Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2016
I know I am late with this, but I am pretty sure sorkin was right, yet this critter would still be around the 2 to 3 meters, if we would use the skull of arminiheringia. The skull does look very cool though.
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2016  Hobbyist
Not late at all, the comments are always open here. :) However, the paper of Sorkin, as I said, have a lot of too high weight estimations, and the main problem is that tyhe study of Sorkin is focused in the humerus of several predator mammals, but the skeleton of Proborhyaena is unknown and he used the general proportions of another sparassodonts, but he didn't use Callistoe, the closest relative of Proborhyaena with complete skeleton, which shows a large head with a relatively short body - with a skull of 26 cm in length, the animl weight about 23 kg. With these proportion, Proborhyaena maybe measured about 2 meters in length and weights about 150 kg, more similar to a large jaguar or a medium sized lion.
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:iconcaspion161:
caspion161 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 20, 2016
Yet it makes me think, what would this predator eat? Since it lived with a huge variety of prey. And with it some big animals. and do you have any idea what the length and height of callistoe is? all I can find is the weight, and then I searched most of the stuff. 
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2016  Hobbyist
As you said, Proborhyaena lived along with very big animals, in which is known as the Deseadan fauna, that includes to Pyrotherium and Parastrapotherium, both large ungulates of more than 3 tonnes. I think that Proborhyaena could try to hunt the juveniles of these animals.

Callistoe measures 80 cm from the nose to the sacrum, and over 45 cm. in height, based in the photograph of the skeleton and a comment here in Tetrapod Zoology: blogs.scientificamerican.com/t… You didn't find such measures probably because are not stated in the scientific papers, and well, few people cares about these animals.. :(
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:iconcaspion161:
caspion161 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2016
I often don't understand why, south american in the paleo/neogene era is very beautiful. And Fun thing about the proborhyaenids, I did some searching on paraborhyaena and I found some information. Now the funny part is the size of paraborhyaena, because the size of proborhyaena as we know is around the size of a brown bear and a lion (both are similair in weight) and when it comes to size with sparrasodonts, paraborhyaena and proborhyaena were probably the biggest two. Showing big sizes was pretty much part of the family. And thanks for the link.
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2016  Hobbyist
Is a very interesting topic, but in the media most of the attention to paleontological topics is devoted to dinosaurs...

About Paraborhyaena, my information is that it is smaller than Proborhyaena, and could weight over 76 kg, similar to a very big leopard. It's interesting having in mind that meanwhhile Proborhyaena coexists with the largest species of Pyrotherium, P. romeroi that weights over 3,5 tonnes, Paraborhyaena lived along Pyrotherium macfaddeni, which weights over 900 kg.

And no problem! :)
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2018
I actually assume that animals like leontiniids would be better prey for giant proborhyaenids; pyrotheres are probably too large to tackle, and while calves are smaller, they’re going to be defended by adults anyways.
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:iconcaspion161:
caspion161 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 26, 2016
I mostly got the information off horned armadillos and rafting monkeys, but I wouldn't be suprised paraborhyaena was about the size of a big leopard.  it makes you think, maybe these creatures fed on some small ones, although I wouldn't be very suprised if some big proborhyaenids occasionally hunted an adult member of smaller astrapothere or prothere, that lived around the area.

EDIT: I looked for any astrapotheres around, to see which one lived in the area of proborhyaena, but what I found, is a giant rodent which was similair in size.
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2016  Hobbyist
"Horned armadillos and rafting monkeys"? do you have that book? as far I've seen, is very interesting, despite some minor mistakes.

Which rodent yo refer?
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(1 Reply)
:iconcaspion161:
caspion161 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2016
I just noticed it was a notungulate  :| (Blank Stare) 
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:iconanonymousllama428:
AnonymousLlama428 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Quite a critter!
Still, it doesn't exactly fit a 500kg super-sparassodont that is flaunted on the internet.
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Edited Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist
Indeed! the "problem" with these animals is that they had large heads for its size, like the Tasmanian devil, so the figures of 600 kg was based in incorrect assumptions (altought, in another hand, was the only weight estimation for this animal for some time)... still, 100- 200 kg is very big.
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:iconanonymousllama428:
AnonymousLlama428 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Indeed. It seems to even rival Thylacosmilus and Thylacoleo.
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist
Yeah, the maximum estimate for Thylacosmilus is 110 kg and Thylacoleo 163 kg...
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:iconanonymousllama428:
AnonymousLlama428 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
So this is technically the largest known marsupial carnivore of all time?
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist
No, because technically Proborhyaena and the rest of sparassodonts are not considered currently as marsupials, but as a closely related order within Metatheria. The title is for Thylacoleo. ;)
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:iconanonymousllama428:
AnonymousLlama428 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I see.
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:iconnesihonsu:
Nesihonsu Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
It had to be powerful bite :)
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2016  Hobbyist
Surely, I remember an article about the bite of sparassodnts and they used the rear portion of mandible that I show here... since that is not complete, the authors don't estimate its force, but they conclude that it was well adapted to crushing bones, in contrast with Borhyaena and Cladosictis. If the marsupial lion could outcompete in bite force to a spotted hyaena, just imagine a Proborhyaena :D
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:iconnesihonsu:
Nesihonsu Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Tkanks, this fact about marsupial lion I didn't knew.
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:iconursumeles:
Ursumeles Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2016
Very good and nice informations!
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2016  Hobbyist
Thanks, glad you like it! :)
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:iconucumari:
ucumari Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2016
las diferencias entre  los marsupiales y los Sparassodonta son tan pequeñas que es difícil no pensar que eran parientes
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2016  Hobbyist
No creo que sean tan "pequeñas" si se los considera metaterios basales, pero seguramente si partieron de un tronco común.
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:iconucumari:
ucumari Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2016
si yo he leído que existes muchas dudas respectos al tamaños de esas magnificas bestias, causadas por las masivas mandíbulas que se han encontrado, aunque indudablemente un carnívoro de 220 kgs es mas probables por ser mas flexible que unos de 600 kgs pero hasta que no se halle un esqueleto completo va a ser difícil de decir. 
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2016  Hobbyist
Sin un esqueleto completo no se puede saber un peso muuuy preciso, pero con los restos craneales si hay suficientes datos como para saber cual es el rango de tamaño más apropiado. Como sabes, muchos restos de mamíferos son dientes y trozoso de mandíbulas, así que ya hay mucho trabajo acerca de como calcular peso solo con esos datos, y pues las últimas estimaciones son coherentes con el tamaño reducido de Proborhyaena... al menos que se encuentre algo más grande.
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:iconarcheoraptor38:
archeoraptor38 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2016
esta muy bien, pero no se decia que no eran marsupiales?
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2016  Hobbyist
En efecto no son marsupiales propiamente dichos... pero puse lo de "osos marsupiales" porque antes se los consideraba así. ;)
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