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Extinct American Cheetahs (Miracinonyx spp.) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat

How Do We Know This?

Scientists use knowledge of the earth's rocks, global plate techtonic movements, together with genetic and phylogenetic data to make sense of fossil distribution patterns. Ancient habitats are understood by studies of modern environments where sediments are deposited.


Prehistoric Distribution

Older records (Late Pliocene) Texas and California (M. inexpectatus)

Younger records (Pleistocene) Wyoming, Nebraska, Arkansas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Florida (M. trumani)

Arizona (M. trumani) - new Pleistocene record (Hodnett 2010)

See The Paleobiology Database for map

Prehistoric Habitat

Lived in a variety of habitats:

  • Coastal savannah
  • Forest with open areas,
  • Appalachian mountain stream valleys (Van Valkenburgh et al 1990)
  • High mountain meadows/forested and rocky slopes (Martin et al 1979)

A new discovery of Miracinonyx in Arizona indicates habitat along steep slopes within the Grand Canyon (Hodnett 2010)

Page Citations

Hodnett (2010)
Martin et al (1977)
Van Valkenburgh et al (1990)

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