A hypocarnivore is an animal that consumes less than 30% meat for its diet, the majority of which consists of non-vertebrate foods that may include fungi, fruits, and other plant material.[1] Examples of living hypocarnivores are the black bear (Ursus americanus), binturong (Arctictis binturong) and kinkajou (Potos flavus).

The division of carnivory into three groups, including hypercarnivore and mesocarnivore, appears to have occurred about 40 mya. It is used with increasing frequency in describing early Canidae evolution and has a documented history in North American Borophaginae during the Miocene (23.03 to 5.33 mya). According to Xiaoming Wang, some 25 species of hypocarnivore co-occurred on the North American continent 30 million years ago.[2] A shift from hyper to hypo occurred at least three times among Oligocene and Miocene canids Oxetocyon, Phlaocyon, and Cynarctus.

Large hypocarnivore (Ursus) were rare and developed in the mid to late Miocene-Pliocene as Borophanginae became extinct.


Examination of dentition shows that postcarnassial molar volume expands with hypocarnivores while decreasing in hypercarnivores.[3] Prohesperocyon (38 mya—33.9 mya) displayed a shift in relative proportion between slicing and grinding functions indicative of a dietary shift away from vertebrate foods to one including fruits.

See also


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