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Encyclopedia > Cave hyena
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Cave Hyena
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Hyaenidae
Genus: Crocuta
Species: C. crocuta or C. spelaea

The Cave Hyena is an extinct variety of hyena native to Eurasia, ranging from Northern China to Spain and into the British Isles. It is usually considered a subspecies of the Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta spelaea), but is sometimes described as a separate species (Crocuta spelaea) very closely related to the spotted hyena. It is known from a range of fossils and prehistoric cave art. They became extinct across their range near the end of the last ice age (between 20,000 and 10,000 years BP). The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species continuing to survive either in the present day or the future. ... For other uses, see Scientific classification (disambiguation). ... Animalia redirects here. ... Typical Classes Subphylum Urochordata - Tunicates Ascidiacea Thaliacea Larvacea Subphylum Cephalochordata - Lancelets Subphylum Myxini - Hagfishes Subphylum Vertebrata - Vertebrates Petromyzontida - Lampreys Placodermi (extinct) Chondrichthyes - Cartilaginous fishes Acanthodii (extinct) Actinopterygii - Ray-finned fishes Actinistia - Coelacanths Dipnoi - Lungfishes Amphibia - Amphibians Reptilia - Reptiles Aves - Birds Mammalia - Mammals Chordates (phylum Chordata) include the vertebrates, together with... Subclasses Allotheria* Order Multituberculata (extinct) Order Volaticotheria (extinct) Order Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Order Triconodonta (extinct) Prototheria Order Monotremata Theria Infraclass Marsupialia Infraclass Eutheria The mammals are the class of vertebrate animals characterized by the production of milk in females for the nourishment of young, from mammary glands present on most species... Families 17, See classification The diverse order Carnivora IPA: (from Latin carō (stem carn-) flesh, + vorāre to devour) includes over 260 placental mammals. ... Genera Crocuta Hyaena Parahyaena Proteles Hyenas (or Hyaenas) are moderately large terrestrial carnivores native to Africa and Asia, and members of the family Hyaenidae. ... Subfamilies and Genera Hyaeninae Crocuta Hyaena Parahyaena Protelinae Proteles Hyenas or Hyaenas are moderately large terrestrial carnivores native to Africa and the Indian subcontinent. ... Eurasia African-Eurasian aspect of Earth Eurasia is a landmass covering about 54,000,000 km² compared with the Americas (approximately 42,000,000 km²), Africa (approximately 30,000,000 km²), Antarctica (approximately 13,000,000 km²) and Oceania (9,000,000 km²). Eurasia is composed of the traditional continents... Location of the British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands off the north west coast of continental Europe comprising Great Britain, Ireland and a number of smaller islands. ... Binomial name Crocuta crocuta (Erxleben, 1777) The Spotted Hyena, or Laughing Hyena, (Crocuta crocuta) is the largest and best-known member of the hyena family. ...


Cave paintings and fossils depict the cave hyena as very similar to the modern spotted hyena in appearance, however the cave hyena was significantly larger, standing up to forty inches tall at the shoulder and weighing on average 175–185 pounds; comparable to the largest spotted hyena on record.

Like the spotted hyena, they lived in social groups and probably had a similar social structure and role in the ecosystem, as nocturnal pack hunters and occasional scavengers. Being larger than the spotted hyena, they would have been able to take on comparatively larger prey, and would have been been quite formidable in competition with other predators at kill sites. They appear to have been quite common through most of their reign.

Interaction with hominids

Kills partially processed by Neanderthal and then cave hyena indicate that hyena would occasionally steal Neanderthal kills, and cave hyena and Neanderthal both competed for cave sites, often displacing one another within the fossil record of a given cave. Numerous hominid bones, including Neanderthal, have also been found partially consumed by cave hyena. Modern humans also lived alongside cave hyena, and may have had similar interaction with them.



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