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The American cheetah (Miracinonyx), is an extinct genus of at least two felinespecies morphologically similar to the modern cheetah which were endemic to North America during the Pleistocene epoch (2.6 Ma—12,000 years ago).[1] These cats are only known from fragments of skeletons.
The two species commonly identified are
Miracinonyx inexpectatus and M. trumani. Sometimes a third species, M. studeri, is added to the list, but it is more often listed as a junior synonym of M. trumani. Both species are similar to the modern cheetah, with faces shortened and nasal cavities expanded for increased oxygen capacity, and legs proportioned for swift running. However, these similarities may not be inherited from a common ancestor, but result from either parallel or convergent evolution. These were larger than a modern cheetah and similar in size to a modern northerncougar. Body mass was typically around 70 kg (150 lb) with a head-and-body length of 170 cm (67 in), tail length of around 92 cm (36 in) and a shoulder height of 85 cm (33 in).[2] Large specimens could have weighed more than 95 kg (210 lb).[3]