How an Arctic Hyena Was Found in Canada, Then Lost, Then Found Again


This past February, Jack Tseng sat down in a warehouse room at the Canadian Museum of Nature’s research facilities in Gatineau, Quebec, to examine a pair of million-year-old teeth. Peering through a microscope, he studied their cusps and ridges. “Within 5 minutes, I could tell,” he said. These were the teeth of ancient hyenas — specifically Chasmaporthetes, or “running hyenas,” known for their speed and endurance.

Although only four hyena species exist today, the prehistoric world was full of them: nearly 70 species are currently known to have once roamed the planet. Signs of running hyenas specifically have been found across the southern United States and Mexico, as well as in Africa, Asia and Europe.

But these teeth, officially identified Tuesday in the journal Open Quaternary, provide the first evidence that hyenas also lived north of the Arctic Circle. They help map the species’ route of dispersal, suggesting the hyenas crossed the Bering land bridge from Asia into North America, just as humans most likely did.



Sahred From Source link Science

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