Megalictis by hodarinundu-d52eqrr

Credit: Hodarinundu

Megalictis is an extinct genus of large predatory mustelids, which existed in North America during the "cat gap" in the Miocene epoch.


It is thought to have resembled a huge ferret, with a body mass of up to 60 kilograms. Some writers suggest M. ferox could grow to the size of a black bear, whilst others suggest a less exceptional mass of 20–60 kilograms, compared to the wolverine of 10–20 kilograms.

Ekorus ekakeran, a comparable mustelid of the same period found in Africa, is estimated to have been around 40 kilograms (88 lb).[2] Matthew described it as having short stout legs, with short feet and long non-retractible claws, similar to a modern ferret but about twice the size, and noted that "the teeth indicate an animal fully as predaceous as the wolverine, but the skeleton points to more fossorial habits". Research comparing the joints of the forelegs to modern mammalian carnivores suggests that it waited in ambush and grappled with its prey, rather than hunting it down by pursuit like a modern cheetah.

The genus Megalictis was first described by W. D. Matthew in 1907, and assigned to the family Mustelidae.[5] Two similar genera discovered at the same time, Aelurocyon (Peterson, 1907) and Paroligobunis (Peterson, 1910) were identified as synonymous with Megalictis in 1996.