Modern Animal: Modern Coyote>

Creodonts
(Creodonta)

Scientific Classification
creodont.jpg
Creodont, Source: http://media.photobucket.com/image/creodont/mjsjobs/whale-evolution/JPG_LENS_we_creodont.jpg

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Hyaenodontidae
Species
Oxyaenids


Scientists believe that the ancient animals of coyotes are the wolves, but they never existed and are still alive in America and inside the deep forests. So they assume that the ancestors of coyotes are some other animal. And scientists came out with evidence showing the early ancestors of the coyotes and wolves were a large group of carnivores, the creodonts. Creodonts existed in the northern hemisphere of the earth during the Mesozoic era, the Jurassic period. Creodonts then gave birth to a group of wolf-like animals which have special teeth for eating meat, the canine teeth. Another member of the group, the Miacis (another extinct animal) is also thought to be the ancient animal of all present dogs, bears and wolves.

Due to the different partners and mates, the Miacis spread out a few different species about 40 million years ago including a more recent ancestor to the modern wolves, the Cynodicits. They are a bit smaller to the coyotes today, with a pair of short legs and a smaller body. Later, Cynodicits split into two other alike species which had longer legs and two more compact feet, getting nearer and nearer to the modern coyote.




Habitat


distribution_of_creodont.jpg
Distribution map of creodonts, Source: http://www.skidmore.edu/~jthomas/fairlysimpleexercises/Pictures/pangea/pangea4.jpg



Creodonts lived on the top of the earth and also low down.
deep_jungle.jpg
Deep jungle, Source: http://www.iguanacreek.com/Iguanacreekpics/Prop%20Line.jpg

Their dens ranged across Africa, North America and also the Eurasia.Amongst the group of carnivores, Megistotherium had been the largest mammal land predator within those million years.

They had a skull twice as big as the tigers and their bodies were just as big as the water buffalos. Creodonts had once dominated the early Carnivora “society” (miacids). The creodonts managed to survive until approximately 8 million years in Pakistan.

Creodonts lived in the deep jungles and they only take in meat from dead animals. The preys of creodonts include zebras, all types of birds and fish in the rivers.




Structural Adaptation


labelled_creodont.jpg
Labelled creodont, Source: http://lynx.uio.no/jon/lynx/hyaenske.jpg

Creodonts’ body can range from as big as the buffalos to as small as a regular domestic cat. Comparing with other mammals, they have a much bigger brain. This might have brought them their great intelligence to any other kind of carnivore. Creodonts run almost as fast as a leopard to chase the fast running animals. They also have fast movements, so that they get to react fast before being killed by other predators and also being able to capture enough food for their meat and to feed their youngs.

Creodonts have very heavy jaws which have a length of more than 20 centimetres and large blunt teeth suitable for crunching bones and to slice off fresh flesh. They also have sharp claws making them capable to climb on the tall trees. They also have a long tail to keep their balance when creodonts are doing something dangerous which involves jumping from one tree to another and when they are climbing on a narrow branch. Creodonts seem just like another giant cat-leopard, but with a great strength being able to kill.

Under the environmental pressure, their bodies which are in different sizes help them to live in other places which are with different climate. They have huge brains to lead them working better with thinking of possibilties when chasing preys.


Behavioural Adaptation


Creodonts tend to travel up to more than 20 miles each and everyday to search for their preys and food. They also have a fantastic sense of smelling and they are so good at locating their food using the nose. Their nose can even detect the smell of the animal that they are chasing for within five miles away. Creodonts works like an animal detective. They look at the depth of the foot prints, the dense odour around the area to allocate which direction their prey had gone for and for how long have they left. Their ears are also very sensitive to breathing sounds, rustles of grass and also the stomps onto the soft earth. Creodonts also can calculate the percentage of getting the prey they wanted. Once they knew there is a less chance to capture the animal, they will not attempt to purse the animal because of the waste of energy.

The creodonts are well-known as a skilful hunter. They are also trained how to manage the starvation, so when they get out of food, they still can survive about a week. It is always a low percentage of successfully capturing a prey due to the different ways of escaping and defence. But due to these circumstances, creodonts’ brain start to figure out a way to capture the animals by sending them false charges and chase them until they enter the other side of the creodont group. Sometimes, creodonts run behind their prey until they get tired and surrender under the sharp teeth of creodonts.

Under the environmental pressure, creodonts' fast legs are neccessary due to the bigger and further land that it was during the jurassic period. With the fast legs, they can run more than 20 miles without resting just to capture their prey.





Physiological Adaptations



Creodont is a warm blooded carnivore. It has thin layer of fur surrounding his body, because it does not live anywhere like the coyotes. It has sharp canines, blunt robust molars at the very end of its large jaw for crunching up bones and ripping off the meat from the dead bodies. Creodonts also have a strong nose for smelling the scents of preys around and to look for the other animals which had been around that area zone. Its sensitive ears are also very useful for chasing the preys. It can listen to any silent breathing sounds, soft steps on the earth and also small rustles of grass and leaves from the trees and bushes. Creodont’s long claws able them to climb up the trees like the leopards and the long tail linking to its end is for well balancing when walking on a narrow branch.

Under the environmental pressure, creodont do not need thick fur coats like the modern coyote because they do not live around in high mountains which are so cold that they need that thick fur. Their sharp teeth and blunt molars are also neccessary because the animals are different to the ones nowadays which are easy to capture. To capture preys, creodonts will have to kill the animals within the first bite onto its life-threatening organs.



Extinction Pressure


It is not exactly known as why the creodonts were replaced by some other carnivore. But it might be because of their structure of their legs. The movement of their legs are limited to a vertical plane. They cannot twist their wrists and arms to capture preys like the modern carnivores nowadays. The only tool creodonts can use to grab the preys is their huge jaw and teeth. The arrangement of creodonts’ teeth is also one of the reasons which led them to extinction. The teeth inside their jaw are somehow different to the modern carnivores. The molars are a lot further back than the carnivores now, which makes creodonts eat meat exclusively. And the limits might have been creating a huge disadvantage in the past 8 million years.



Bibliography


Bibliography

Carnivores, creodonts and carnivorous ungulates. (2001). Mammals become predators. Retrieved July 9, 2010, from <http://www.paleocene-mammals.de/predators.htm>

The Vertebrate Family. (no date). Evolutionary History and the Fossil Record. Retrieved July 11, 2010, from <http://www.macalester.edu/~montgomery/GrayWolfExtra.html>

Enotes. (2010). Creodonts. Retrieved July 11, 2010, from <http://www.enotes.com/topic/Creodonts>

Behaviour. (2005). Hunting Behaviour. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from <http://alphawolfsabrina.webs.com/huntingbehaviour.htm>