Fossil hyaenidae from the Makapansgat Limeworks deposit, South Africa

Randall, R. M.
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Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research
The remains of three hyaena species have been recovered from the Makapansgat Limeworks deposit. A common small form , Hyaena hyaena makapani, and a rare large form, Pachycrocuta brevirostris, were recovered from Member 3 (Lower Phase 1 grey breccia). The rare Crocuta crocuta was recovered from Member 4 (Upper Phase 1 breccia), and was the only hyaena from this horizon. Abundant cranial and dental material of H. h. makapani facilitated comparisons with extant and fossil forms to confirm its identification as a subspecies of the extant striped hyaena. Despite morphological differences in the skull and teeth, H. abronia from Langebaanweg is confirmed as its likely ancestor. Some deciduous teeth of H. h. makapani are described and the eruption sequence of permanent cheek teeth deduced. P. brevirostris appears to be the largest fossil hyaena from Africa, showing affinities to P. bellax from Kromdraai. C. crocuta is similar to the extant form and the fossil forms from East Africa. As in the East African deposits, C. crocuta appears relatively late in the succession. The hyaena material has limited value in site faunal correlations for dating purposes, but does not contradict the palaeomagnetic age estimate of more than 2,9 My for Member 3 (grey breccia) (Partridge 1979).
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hyaena; Makapansgat