STL Science Center

STL Science Center

21 September 2013

3 Each Day

Attribution: GFDL
There are 19 genera in the family Miacidae. This works out really well in that we can discuss three genera each day without really detracting from any given genus too much; sometimes things work out nicely. The largest genus for today is the genus Miacis, which clearly lends its name to the family. Consisting of 16 species, Miacis was generally characterized by a long slender body, longer forelimbs than hindlimbs, and a dog-like pelvis. Equipped with needle-like claws, the Miacids in general, were well suited to an arboreal life in the trees. The genus Miacis is probably the most well studied of the family and has revealed a lot about diet, consisting of small mammals, birds, reptiles, and possibly eggs, as well as the intelligence of the family. Studies measuring the size of the brain show that proportionately to body size Miacis was a pretty smart genus of dog hipped cat-like basal carnivora.

The other genera of the day are Eosictis and Messelogale. Both genera consist of a single species and are considered to be quite typical members of the family, sharing many of the anatomical characters of the Miacis members. Eosictis was named in 1945 and Messelogale in 1982.

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