Quick Amphicyon Facts
- Lived from the Middle Oligocene through the Early Miocene Periods
- Lived in Asia, Europe and North America
- Was as long as a human adult male is tall
- Weighed as much as a lion
- It was an omnivore
Amphicyon is a prehistoric canine-like omnivore which lived approximately 30 to 20 million years ago – from the Middle Oligocene through the Early Miocene Periods. It was first discovered during the early 19th century and was named in 1836 by Édouard Lartet. Fossils of this dog have been found in Nebraska, in North America and in France and Spain in Europe. Its name means “ambiguous dog” but it has been nicknamed the “bear dog.”
Just by looking at Amphicyon pictures, you can probably come to the conclusion that this dog-like animal wasn’t one you would’ve wanted to have been around. It was approximately 6 feet long and weighed around 400 pounds. Which means that it was as long as an adult male is tall and weighed as much as an adult lion.
While this animal looks like a cross between a bear and a dog (hence it having the nickname “bear dog”), this animal is neither an ancestor of the bear or the dog. It came after many of the carnivorous creodonts, but came well before what would be labeled as the first true dogs. And it probably lived and hunted more like a bear than a dog. It would probably eat anything it could (meaning it was omnivorous) and was maybe a scavenger. Some of the things that it could have eaten could have included meat, fish, fruits or whatever else it could find.
One of the most interesting facts about Amphicyon is that it is the subject of quite a bit of debate by paleontologists today. Some paleontologists believe that these animals hunted in packs. Other paleontologists think that it was probably a more solitary creature that lived its life much like a bear. Which is probably why it eventually went extinct. As faster and more cunning carnivorous animals came on the scene, Amphicyon probably couldn’t compete with them and eventually became extinct.