A new Lophocyonidae Izmirictis cani gen. nov. et sp. nov. (Carnivora, Mammalia) from the lower Miocene of Turkey
Lophocyonids are one of the more enigmatic groups of Carnivora in the European Miocene fossil record. The Lophocyonids are clearly distinguished from other Feliformia by the peculiar lophodont dental morphology. For this reason, the systematic relationships of the family have been controversial. Here we describe and interpret dental remains from the Early Miocene of Sabuncubeli, Turkey, which we attribute to a new genus and species: Izmirictis cani. The phylogenetic analysis allows us to include Izmirictis within a monophyletic group, Lophocyonidae new rank, characterized by the molarization of the anterior premolars (P3 and p4), the lophodont adaptation of the molar dentition and the complex morphology of the incisors. The phylogenetic analysis shows a closer relationship of Izmirictis with the primitive hyaenids (represented herein by Protictitherium). The divergence between Lophocyonidae from Hyaenidae is estimated by biochronological data to have occurred during the Early Miocene (MN2). Dental microwear analysis, although limited by the poor dental enamel preservation, indicates that the pronounced lophodonty in Izmirictis cani gen., et sp. nov., could be connected to an herbivorous feeding habit.