The Prince of Spanish Oligocene predators: Dinailurictis
Most members of the extinct family Nimravidae were cat-like predators from lynx to leopard size, including the famous sabertoothed genera Eusmilus and Hoplophoneus. But in the European Oligocene some nimravid species (more closely related to Nimravus) evolved to fill the niche of the superpredator, reaching the size of a modern lion. One such monster was Dinailurictis, whose fossils have been found in the Spanish Oligocene site of Carrascosa. Most herbivores living in the Europan archipielago at that time were pretty smallish creatures, and you would expect that for much of the time Dinailurictis was actually catching prey smaller than itself.
With a body mass of around 130 kg, Dinailurictis was one of the largest nimravids ever to exist, but in Carrascosa the remains of an even larger relative have been found, and classified as Quercylurus. These animals would rival a male lion in mass, with a weight of about 200 kg! Quercylurus would thus be the king of Spanish Oligocene predators and the biggest nimravid ever, but its remains are quite fragmentary and the differences with Dinailurictis rather subtle, so more material would be most welcome to make a clearer case for the presence of two species of giant nimravid in Carrascosa.
Now here is a reconstruction of Dinailurictis based on the Carrascosa fossils and on remains of related animals. The predator has just caught a vaguely pig-like ungulate of the genus Methriotherium, while in the background two minute herbivores of the genus Cainotherium warily leave the area.
This is just a corner of a larger scene depicting the strange fauna of the Oligocene in the plains of Central Spain. More to come!