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Extinct American Cheetahs (Miracinonyx spp.) Fact Sheet: Summary

Extinct American Cheetah (Miracinonyx inexpectatus) Fact Sheet

Extinct American Cheetah

Extinct American cheetah, Miracinonyx spp.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Describer: Cope 1895 (Miracinonyx inexpectatus)

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Felidae

Genus: Miracinonyx

Species: Miracinonyx inexpectatus
Species: Miracinonyx trumani

Estimated Body Weight: 70 kg (156 lb)

Head/Body Length: 170 cm (5.6 ft)

Tail Length: 92 cm (3 ft)

Height at Shoulder: 85 cm (33 in)

Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology

Range: Continental U.S., northern Mexico

Habitat: Coastal savannah, mountain valleys and rocky slopes

Status: Extinct

Locomotion: Slightly shorter, more robust lower leg bones than modern cheetah (not as fast running); better suited for short bursts of speed, climbing

Activity Cycle: Unknown

Social Groups: Unnown

Diet: Medium sized ungulates such as pronghorn, mountain sheep, mountain goats

Predators: Possibly American lion and Smilodon.

Reproduction & Development Species Highlights
Longevity: Unknown; probably similar to modern cheetah - maximum about 14 years.

Feature Facts

  • Genetic studies reveal that close relatives of the extinct American cheetah are the mountain lion Puma concolor) and the jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi)

About This Fact Sheet

© 2010 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

How to cite: Extinct American Cheetahs (Miracinonyx inexpectatus) Fact Sheet. c2010. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. extinctamericancheetahs
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

Archived Content

Disclaimer: Fact sheets on prehistoric (extinct) species contain archived content and are no longer being updated. At the time of publication, these pages summarized the best available science. However, some content may become outdated when new scientific discoveries are published.

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