Dog species that roamed Earth 12 million years ago identified, claim researchers

Researchers say that this dog species roamed the the coast of eastern North America and was a member of the extinct subfamily Borophaginae, commonly known as bone-crushing dogs.

Last Updated: May 12, 2016, 21:53 PM IST
Dog species that roamed Earth 12 million years ago identified, claim researchers
Image for representational purpose only

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: In a significant breakthrough, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in the US, claim to have discovered a new species of fossil dog that roamed Earth approximately 12 million years ago.

Researchers say that this dog species roamed the the coast of eastern North America and was a member of the extinct subfamily Borophaginae, commonly known as bone-crushing dogs.

This coyote-sized dog - named Cynarctus wangi had powerful jaws and broad teeth, the researchers said.

"In this respect they are believed to have behaved in a similar way to hyenas today," said the study's lead author, Steven Jasinski, doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania.

Fossils from terrestrial species from this region and time period are relatively rare, thus the find helps paleontologists fill in important missing pieces about what prehistoric life was like on North American's East Coast.

"Most fossils known from this time period represent marine animals, who become fossilized more easily than animals on land," Jasinski said. 

"It is quite rare we find fossils from land animals in this region during this time, but each one provides important information for what life was like then," Jasinski noted.

(With IANS inputs)