Weight management

How much weight can a raccoon grow?

Raccoon dog body size data: head length 450~ 660mm; tail length 160~ 220mm; rear foot length 75~ 120mm; ear length 35~ 60mm; total skull length 100~ 130mm; weight 3~ 6kg.

canidae grain free weight management

Raccoon dog is a very ancient species in the canidae family and is considered to be a species similar to the ancestors of the canidae family. Short and fat, between raccoons and dogs, smaller than dogs and foxes. Body color dark brown. White snout; short black limbs; short tail. There is a black “pirate-like mask” on the face.

Why are hyenas not canidae?

Hyenas are not canines, but an independent family of hyenas, which is a knowledge point that many people do not easily understand. It is true that hyenas are called dogs and look like dogs to the general public, but in fact, their phylogenetic relationship is very distant from canines.

Hyenas

Why are hyenas not canines?

Most biologists maintain that taxonomic units should be monophyletic groups, and families, genera, and species in modern taxonomy are all based on this proposition. The so-called monophyletic group means that all species in it have a common ancestor, and this taxonomic unit contains this common ancestor and all its descendants. Canidae and hyenidae are both monophyletic groups.

Let’s take a look at the phylogenetic relationship of carnivores. Canines and hyenas can be said to be the two most estranged families in carnivores. They are located in different branches in the evolutionary tree of carnivores, and they are separated by many other branches. Therefore, hyenas certainly do not belong to the canidae.

The phylogenetic tree of carnivores

Canidae also includes bears, finnipeds, ferrets, raccoons, etc., a total of 9 families. The hyena belongs to the carnivorous order – cat-type suborder – civet suborder – meerkat superfamily – hyena family. The closest relatives to the hyena are the family Dipteridae and Anteater (the cryptic anal beaver is a member of this family), followed by the civet family. Even the relationship between cats and hyenas is closer than that of canines.

Evolution of cat-type suborder

Why is the hyena called a dog?

The hyena is not an animal native to our country. Since there is writing, our ancestors have never seen a hyena, so of course we will not make a word for it. After modern times, Chinese biologists began to come into contact with hyenas, and it was inevitable that they would run out of words when naming them. Therefore, according to their morphological and habitual characteristics, they borrowed the name of the dog, added a “hyena” word, and named them hyenas.

The hyena is still very apt, and it is easy for the public to immediately associate their characteristics – it looks a little like a dog, plays a role similar to a wolf in the savanna ecosystem, and has hyena hair on its back. But this naming also has the flaw of making a group of people who do not know the truth mistakenly believe that they really have any relatives with dogs.

The spotted hyena

In fact, as an animal native to Africa and the Middle East, the hyena’s English name (hyena) and Latin scientific name (Hyaena) are not related to wolves (wolf), dogs (dog) or canines (Canidae).

What do hyenas look like?

Some readers may ask, since mongoose, anteater and hyena are the closest relatives among existing animals, why do they look nothing like hyenas? This is because hyenas have evolved for 20 million years, and the morphological structure of hyenas has undergone great changes during the long evolution process, and they are completely different from their ancestors.

The evolution of the hyena family is roughly divided into three stages:

1. The raccoon hyena

The most primitive members of the hyena family are some raccoon hyenas, represented by the proto-weasel hyena (Protictitherium). These hyenas are not large in size, with retractable claws like cats, like to live in trees, feed on insects and small animals, much like today’s civets.

Restoration of the skeleton of the proto-weasel hyena

The later emergence of the raccoon hyena, including species such as the weasel hyena (Ictitherium). They have begun to grow in size, with a body length of 1.2 meters, and live in groups. From the fossilized teeth, they also feed on insects.

Skull fossils of ferret hyenas

The ferret hyena was very successful in the Middle and Late Miocene (1500 to 5 million years ago). It spread across three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. The number and species are very rich. If they were still alive, no one would doubt the kinship of hyenas with mongoose and anteater cats. However, they have all disappeared.

2, Canine hyena

The second stage of the evolution of the hyena family, which paleontologists usually call canine hyenas, represents the genus Lycyaena and Chasmaporthetes. These hyenas have slender limbs and are good at hunting prey such as antelopes and giant marmots in the grasslands. Leopard hyenas have slender and sharp teeth like cats, indicating that they are basically pure carnivores and have no ability to break bones. Compared with canines, leopard hyenas are actually more similar to cats.

Restoration of wolf hyenas

Leopard hyena skull fossils

Canine hyenas appeared in the Morning Miocene about 5 million years ago, and most species became extinct 780,000 years ago. Coyotes are the only surviving canine hyenas. They weigh about 10 kilograms and live as a family. They like insects, especially termites, and are similar to jackals.

Coyotes

3. Bone-crushing hyenas

The last to appear were bone-crushing hyenas, including today’s onyx, brown hyena, and spotted hyena. Three of the four existing hyenas are bone-crushing hyenas, so they are called true hyenas to distinguish them from coyotes. In fact, in the long river of hyena evolution, the most common is the insectivorous hyena, and the bone-crushing hyena is the outlier.

Bone-crushing hyenas appeared in the early Pliocene (about 5 million years ago) and were also popular in the Pleistocene, but now only three remain. They are all large carnivores, weighing 40-80 kilograms, with thick jaws, well-developed molars and premolars, and are good at crushing bones. Therefore, they play more of a scavenger role in the ecosystem than a predator. However, the spotted hyena still maintains an excellent predation ability.

The spotted hyena

The three existing bone-crushing hyenas may seem similar to canines in the eyes of the general public, but they do not have much in common in the eyes of zoologists. Compared with wolves, hyenas have shorter skulls and thicker bodies, which are suitable for gnawing bones and are more resistant to beating, but they are relatively less flexible.

Although they all live in groups, the spotted hyena group is far larger and more complex than the wolf group. The spotted hyena pack is a complex matriarchal clan, with more than 50 individuals per clan in the East African savanna, while the wolf pack is nothing more than a hunting group composed of a litter of wolves, with 3-12 members per pack. As for foxes and jackals, which usually live in small packs and feed on insects and fruits, they are even less similar to hyenas.

Brown hyenas

Therefore, in terms of phylogeny, morphological characteristics and ecological habits, hyenas are quite unique, and they should be classified as a separate family from a scientific point of view.

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