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Chapalmalania

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Chapalmalania
Temporal range: Late Pliocene
Chapalmalania-white2015-738x591.jpg
A life restoration of Chapalmalania altaefrontis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Procyonidae
Genus: Chapalmalania
Ameghino, 1908
Referred species
  • Chapalmalania altaefrontis
  • Chapalmalania orthognatha

Chapalmalania is an extinct procyonid genus from the Pliocene of South America, that lived from 5.3 to 1.8 million years ago.

Though related to raccoons and coatis, Chapalmalania was a large creature reaching 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in body length, with a short tail. Due to its size, its remains were initially identified as those of a bear. It evolved from the "dog-coati" Cyonasua, which island-hopped from Central America during the late Miocene (7.5 million years ago), as perhaps the earliest southward mammalian migrants of the Great American Interchange. When the Isthmus of Panama rose from the sea to allow further invasions of bears and other North American species, Chapalmalania was unable to compete and its lineage went extinct, after being present in South America for 5 million years.

Chapalmalania1

Chapalmalania with black and white stripes a bit like a raccon or a panda

The remains of Chapalmalania were found in South America, in areas of Chapadmal. Chapalmalania which was a relative of raccoons (Procyonidae), who is so larger than all other known members of this family that took him first to bear, it reached 2 meters in length and 1 meter in height. Probably, its diet was very varied and it included plants,eggs, fish, fruits, insects and carrion. Chapalmalania sediments and fauna indicate that the Pliocene there was a plain of rich pampas grasslands, some woody vegetation and numerous streams. Rainfall was probably significant, but the climate was at least as warm as present-day climate of this region; it probably did not have an impact of an approaching ice age.

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