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Extinct American Cheetahs (Miracinonyx spp.) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding

How Do We Know This?

Clues to fossil mammals' diets come from teeth,skull shape, from fossil dung and gut contents, from lab analysis of isotopes in bone and teeth, and by looking at diets of similar modern animals. Microscopic viewing of wear on teeth offer direct evidence of the diet's impact on tough enamel. Lab analysis of oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen isotopes in bone and teeth yield state-of-the-art insight into the plants and animals ate. Isotopes help describe even the soils and water in a long-gone ecosystem.

Diet & Feeding

Pronghorn often suggested as possible diet options for the extinct American cheetah.

Associated fossils with Miracinonyx at Natural Trap Cave in Wyoming (Martin et al 1979)

  • Extinct mountain sheep
  • Extinct horses

A model for the feeding ecology of the Grand Canyon population of M. trumani proposed by Hodnett (2010)

  • Most common associated fossils in three Grand Canyon caves: extinct mountain goats
  • Perhaps filled ecological role similar to modern snow leopard (Uncia uncia) on rocky slopes.

Page Citations

Hodnett (2010)
Martin et al (1979)
Valkenburgh et al (1990)

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