Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Science, New Series, Vol. 221, No. 4608 (Jul. 22, 1983), pp. 364-366


Partial skeletons of four species of extinct carnivores have been found in their dens excavated in the floodplain of an early Miocene ephemeral braided stream at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska. Bear dogs (Carnivora: Amphicyonidae) were the principal occupants; their den dimensions and body size are similar to those of living wolves and hyenas. Discovery of this predator community extends the record of denning behavior of large mammalian carnivores to the early Miocene, 20 million years ago.