21 November 2017
Papers on Dogs
Leptocyon was not much larger than a dachshund, with an estimated weight of approximately 3.26 kg (7.2 lb). The description of many websites stops after mentioning that fact and that its slender jaws and gracile body gave Leptocyon the appearance of a small fox. These are not the only characteristic attributable to Leptocyon however. The initial description and naming of the material is attributed William Diller Matthew in 1918 (see page 7 of the PDF). Matthew noticed the slender mandibles immediately and described the teeth and their morphology in detail. Matthew also states that the morphology of Leptocyon appears to make its inclusion as the ancestor to not only canids but also foxes, unlike some previous authors must have declared. As we have seen throughout the week up to now, most of the sources of information about Leptocyon are sources that describe the entire evolution of the canid family, not just descriptive works of the morphology or paleobiology of Leptocyon. Wang, et al. 2004 is a fairly well-known and (I have not checked into this recently) definitive description of the phylogenetic evolutionary ecology of all canids. It is a book chapter, but for the reader curious about Leptocyon or the dog enthusiast curious about where their pets came from, this is a good read with a lot of detail and a fair amount of technical elements to it.