Posts tagged procyonidae

Hi I heard you like Procyonids

biomedicalephemera:

Another depiction of the European Badger from the mid-late 1800s.
Note the red panda- it’s now recognized as a separate class from both raccoons and pandas, but is distantly related to both. Initially classified as a raccoon by Cuvier, it was not until the late 1990s that fossil records were recovered that showed the red panda as a genuine “living fossil”, almost identical to the form that existed 4.5 million years ago. 
The red panda also has one of the most striking examples of convergent evolution seen in mammals: the “false thumb” of a red panda was evolved for arboreal locomotion, completely independently of the giant panda’s “false thumb” that was evolved for grasping bamboo. The most recent common ancestor found between them had no false thumb, and no indications of evolutionary leanings towards developing one.
Illustration from Zoology, by Frederick Warne, mid-late 1800s. Exact date unknown.

Beyond even the red panda, none of these creatures are actually Procyonidae, aside from the “American Raccoon”
While they are all Carnivora, red pandas are what’s outlined above, “raccoon dogs” or tanuki are Canidae, and wolverines (“Glutton”) and badgers are Mustelidae, the weasel family.

biomedicalephemera:

Another depiction of the European Badger from the mid-late 1800s.

Note the red panda- it’s now recognized as a separate class from both raccoons and pandas, but is distantly related to both. Initially classified as a raccoon by Cuvier, it was not until the late 1990s that fossil records were recovered that showed the red panda as a genuine “living fossil”, almost identical to the form that existed 4.5 million years ago. 

The red panda also has one of the most striking examples of convergent evolution seen in mammals: the “false thumb” of a red panda was evolved for arboreal locomotion, completely independently of the giant panda’s “false thumb” that was evolved for grasping bamboo. The most recent common ancestor found between them had no false thumb, and no indications of evolutionary leanings towards developing one.

Illustration from Zoology, by Frederick Warne, mid-late 1800s. Exact date unknown.

Beyond even the red panda, none of these creatures are actually Procyonidae, aside from the “American Raccoon”

While they are all Carnivora, red pandas are what’s outlined above, “raccoon dogs” or tanuki are Canidae, and wolverines (“Glutton”) and badgers are Mustelidae, the weasel family.

The Procyonidae (The “Before-Dogs”)

Procyonidae include the raccoons, coatis, cacomistles (ringtail “cats”), kinkajous and olingo/olinguitos. They’re native to North and South America, and likely split off from the canids around 25 million years ago.

Many members of this family have distinctive facial markings and ringed tails, though the olingos and kinkajous do not. The kinkajous have prehensile tails, which is a trait shared with only one other carnivoran, the binturong (“bearcat”) of South-East Asia.

These species are members of the superfamily Musteloidea, which includes red pandas, weasels, and skunks. Well, it might. Current phylogenetic studies seem to indicate that this might not be a truly-related group, but for now they’re still classified together.

Despite being members of the Caniforma (“dog-shaped”) suborder, which are members of the Carnivora, the Procyonidae don’t have any carnassal teeth - part of their more-omnivorous opportunistic diet, compared to the rest of their suborder. Carnassal teeth are needed for ripping and shredding flesh, and are essential in hunters like wolves and bears. While each species of the Procyonidae has preferred foods, they’re not obligate consumers of any one thing, allowing them to adapt and survive in an increasingly-urban world.

Images:

The Quadrupeds of North America. John James Audubon, 1851

Bassaris raptor [Bassariscus astutus raptor] - The Ringtail
Found throughout the Southwest United States and the majority of Mexico, the Ringtail is the closest relative of the raccoons. Though they share many of the same habits, raccoons are much more apt to inhabit cities and populated areas, whereas the ringtail (with its considerably more agile form) can just as easily procure food away from potential hazards (humans).
As true omnivores, they can eat anything from berries to lizards, and can even live off of a diet of mice and a few carbohydrate-rich scraps from the table every now and then. Because they’re excellent at hunting small rodents and fairly easily domesticated, Ringtails used to be kept by the miners in the Southwest, and that’s how they became known as miner’s cats (though they’re actually unrelated to cats).
Biologia Centrali-Americana: Or, Contributions to the Knowledge of Flora and Fauna of Mexico and Central America. Edited by F. Ducane Godman and Osbert Salvin, 1918.

Bassaris raptor [Bassariscus astutus raptor] - The Ringtail

Found throughout the Southwest United States and the majority of Mexico, the Ringtail is the closest relative of the raccoons. Though they share many of the same habits, raccoons are much more apt to inhabit cities and populated areas, whereas the ringtail (with its considerably more agile form) can just as easily procure food away from potential hazards (humans).

As true omnivores, they can eat anything from berries to lizards, and can even live off of a diet of mice and a few carbohydrate-rich scraps from the table every now and then. Because they’re excellent at hunting small rodents and fairly easily domesticated, Ringtails used to be kept by the miners in the Southwest, and that’s how they became known as miner’s cats (though they’re actually unrelated to cats).

Biologia Centrali-Americana: Or, Contributions to the Knowledge of Flora and Fauna of Mexico and Central America. Edited by F. Ducane Godman and Osbert Salvin, 1918.

I'd hate to add to the deluge of Family questions (and I honestly don't know if back in the deep recesses there may already a surfeit of them), but do you have any Procyonidae? More specifically, honestly, Procyon-related stuff? Love your site and everything about it. Thank you. — Asked by codymelcheresq

Currently, I only have a raccoon (and an “american raccoon?” - I think a crab-eating raccoon) on an odd old Chinese/English animal book.

biomedicalephemera.tumblr.com/tagged/raccoon

I’ll be honest, I know damn near nothing about most of the offshoot Carnivora families, including the Procyonidae. The last I read about them was when the Red Panda was “officially” moved to its own family (though people had thought it was only somewhat morphologically similar to the Procyonidae and as such misclassified for quite a while).

Seems like these days, molecular genetics is moving to challenge the morphological phylogeny that was already challenging the previously-accepted taxonomical organization…it’s a complicated family with lots of debate and hardly any attention paid to it since the removal of the Ailurinae from the monophyletic family.

Anyway, I have some Procyonidae, and a Procyon or two in here.

Anyone interested in the Procyonidae phylogeny debate should read this paper - even if you don’t know molecular biology, the different cladograms and conclusions are very interesting.