Fossils of prehistoric predators found in Kenya

Simbakubwa Kutokaafrika


© Mauricio ANTON, Mauricio ANTON

The name Simbakubwa Kutokaafrika literally Large Lion from Africa in the Kiswahili language. The fossils were originally found between 1978 and 1980 at Meswa Bridge in Kisumu county. The fossils were sitting unstudied in a drawer at the National museum of Kenya for decades. Analysis that was concluded in April in 2019 determined that it belonged to a large predator. Larger than a polar bear. These particular fossils were dated to 22 million years ago.

Despite being dubbed “Big Lion”, this species does not belong to the cat family. Rather it belongs to an order called Hyaenodonta which are unrelated to Hyenas but are so called because their dental structure is similar to that of hyenas. Its estimated weight is 1500 kg. It likely preyed on ancient proboscideans.

Isohyaenodon

Isohyaenodon is an extinct Genus that existed in the Miocene era. It belongs to the family Hyainailouridae. It is similar to Hyaenadon but with more robust molars.

Two species are known: Isohyaenodon Andrewsi and Isohyaenodon Zadoki (previously known as Isohyaenodon Mathewi) . The remains of the former species were found in the Omo Maboko area in Kisumu county in Western Kenya. The remains of Zadoki were found in Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria.

Exiguodon

Exiguodon is an extinct genus that belongs to the family Hyainailouridae and order Hyaenodonta. Its fossil remains have been dated to the miocene period. The only known species is Exiguodon Pilgrimi. It is diminutive when compared to other Hyaenodonts. It was previously known as Isohyaenodon Pilgrimi. Its fossil remains have been found on Rusinga island in Lake Victoria.

Leakitherium

Leakitherium is an extinct Genus that existed in the Miocene era. The only known species of this genus is Leakitherium Hiwegi. It belongs to the family Hyainailouridae. Its fossil remains were found in Rusinga Island.

Pterodon

Pterodon is an extinct genus belonging to the family Hyaenodontidae and order Credonta. The species that was found in Kenya is Pterodon nyanzae. Its fossil remains have been found in Ombo in Kisumu county.

Metapterodon

Metapterodon is an extinct genus of the family Hyainailouridae and order Hyaenodonta. The two species that were found in Kenya are Metapterodon Kaiseri which was found in Karungu in Migori county and and Metapterodon Zadoki which was found on Rusinga Island

Teratodon

Teratodon is an extinct genus. It belongs to the family Teratodontidae and order Carnivora.  The species whose remains were found in Kenya is Teratodon spekei. Its fossil remains were found in Koru, Kisumu county.

Dissopsalis

Dissopsalis is an extinct species of the family Hyaenodontidae and order Credodonta. The species that was found in Kenya is Dissopsalis pyroclasticus which existed in the middle miocene. Its fossil remains were found on Rusinga island.

Anasinopa

Anasinopa is a genus of the clade Teratodontinae, Family Hyaenodontidae, and order Creodonta.

The fossil remains that were found in Kenya belong to the sp ecies Anasinopa Leakeyi. The remains have been found in Rusinga Island, Mfangano Island and Karungu in Migori County

 

Megistotherium

Megistotherium is a genus of predator that existed during the early miocene (23 million years ago). It belongs to the family Hyainailouridae, clade Hyaenodonta and Order Credodonta.

Megistotherium osteothlastes is the only known species. It was a large creature, measuring 135 cm at the shoulder and with a skull 66 cm long. Its fossil remains were found in the Ngorora and Muruyur formations of the Tugen Hills in Baringo county.

 

Mioprionodon hodopeus

Mioprionodon hodopeus existed in the late Oligocene. It was a true a true carnivoran and potentially one of the very first immigrants from Eurasia during the African Mid-Tertiary Event. Its fossil remains were found in the Nakwai region in the Turkana basin.

 

Mlanyama Sugu

Mlanyama Sugu a species of predator that existed during the late Oligocene. It belongs to the family Hyainailouridae, clade Hyaenodonta and Order Credodonta. It was classified as such by D. T. Rasmussen and M. Gutierrez. 2009. Its fossils have been found near Lake Turkana


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