Ribeirão Pires Name Meaning: Amazing Cheetah

http://netgents.com/38157-armored-military-vehicles-for-sale-usa.html Geologic Era: Late Pliocene to Late Pleistocene

environmentally Estimated Range: Modern North America

http://vt-marine.com/?p=25242 Size: 70-95 kilograms, roughly 85 centimeters tall

Extinction: Roughly 11,000 years ago

Below is the cast of a canine tooth from Miracinonyx, or the American Cheetah. This animal was found throughout North America, and our specimen was cast from a find in Florida. As with most mammal teeth, only the bottom third or so of this tooth would have been exposed above the gum line. The rest would have been embedded in the jaw.

While resembling the modern cheetah, the American Cheetah was not closely related to them. Rather, it was descended from a puma like animal, similar to the modern cougar. The American Cheetah likely evolved its body plan to take advantage of smaller, swifter prey such as deer and antelope. Miracinonyx lived at the same time as the American megafauna, but would have been ill-equipped to tackle animals as large as horses, bison, or mammoths. These prey would have been left to animals such as dire wolves and Smilodon.

Even with adaptations for speed, Miracinonyx probably failed in over half of its predation attempts. Modern cheetahs have a success rate of a little under fifty percent, so it is reasonable to assume that a similar animal would have similar success rates. Most of the animals that Miracinonyx hunted are now extinct, with the probable exception of deer and pronghorn antelope. The latter is considered the second fastest land animal, and would have been a worthy prey item for a cat as swift as Miracinonyx.

Image Credits:

Life Restoration: By Apokryltaros at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8434082: