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Extinct Dwarf Pronghorn (Capromeryx minor) Fact Sheet: Behavior & Ecology

Extinct Dwarf Pronghorn (Capromeryx minor)

How Do We Know This?

Because direct observation of a fossil animal's behavior isn't possible, paleontologists use comparison and contrast with living animals for guidance. Tracks can sometimes reveal further clues to behavior. At a fossil site, the mix of plant and animal species gives clues to the ecosystem of that time and place.

Locomotion

  • Highly adapted for running
    • The living Pronghorn who share a common ancestor with C. minor are the fastest animals in North America.

Social Behavior

Social groups

  • Some authors argue for a gregarious herding lifestyle, similar to that of modern gazelle and Pronghorn, for members of the Capromeryx genus (Janis and Manning 1998)
    • But the extrememly small size of C. minor may imply small groups living a discrete lifestyle (Davis 2007)
  • Many members of the family are part-time territorial (Jarman 1974; Janis and Manning 1998)
    • Males defend resource-based territories.

 

Interspecies Interactions

  • Dwarf pronghorn informally known as "everybody's lunch" (Davis 2007), meaning it was prey for many other animals

Page Citations

Davis (2007)
Janis and Manning (1998)
Jarman (1974)

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