They are also very vulnerable to attack by cougars, bobcats, coyotes, wolves, and golden eagles. Some researchers have proposed that Antilocapra originated around three million years ago, with Antilocapra americana itself being a late arrival during the Pleistocene, but the scant and neglected record of fossil pronghorn has given researchers cause to be tentative. At one time, we believed that the appearance of comets in the sky would be harbingers of great doom. In their 1990 study, Van Valkenburgh and collaborators noted that later Miracinonyx bones have been found from Nebraska to Pennsylvania and Florida in deposits which accumulated under varying conditions. This problem could all be solved if we just placed the two American “cheetahs” into Puma, but not everyone agrees with the mitochondrial DNA assessment of their phylogeny. A molecular analysis of recovered Miracinonyx DNA published in 2005 by Ross Barnett and colleagues confirmed this relationship. Even more amazing than its speed is the pronghorn… How that relationship works, exactly, is a bit of a mystery to biologists. Another route may be to compare the isotopic clues in the teeth of Miracinonyx to those of their potential prey, as was recently done for two sabercats and a bear dog found in Spain. With top speed reaching 60 mph in bursts, and 40 mph for sustained running, pronghorns will outrun any African antelope – and literally hardly break a sweat! They’ll commonly crawl under them, and they can do it real fast. Pronghorns, Kim explains, don't like to go places where they can't "see far and run fast." (Adams had been misled by functional adaptations of the cat skull and legs which had evolved independently.) Both lines of evidence suffer from the complexities of accurately attributing a particular trace fossil to a trace-maker, though. In the giraffe and okapi, these are called ossicones and are covered in hair. It is possible, but the evidence still is wanting. Cope â within the genus of the African cheetah Acinonyx. But if a pronghorn can so easily leave every predator on North America in the dust, even at a very young age, just how and why did it get to be this fast? The passage is all about showing that relict behavior could be the reason why pronghorns run so fast, even though they no longer have to since there are no longer any predators fast enough to catch it. We love to see the cause and then the effect, and we constantly look for them in nature. The truth is we really don’t know why pronghorns are so fast. The American pronghorn is the second fastest land mammal on the planet - reaching speeds of fifty miles an hour. There might once have been a predator which could match the pronghorn's speed but if so it has disappeared, leaving the little antelope to charge around the prairies unchallenged. Indeed, unlike humans, pronghorns don’t use sweat for thermal regulations. Rather than speeding over the grasslands, Hodnett and colleagues reported, the Grand Canyon Miracinonyx may have lived like snow leopards, bounding down sheer rock faces in pursuit of mountain goats. By ascertaining where herbivores were feeding, and how geochemical signatures of prey became locked in carnivore teeth, paleontologists could narrow down the preferred habitats and prey of Miracinonyx. When two variables occur at the same time but don’t have any causal relationship, they are called stochastic. It is the fastest mammal in North America and can travel at up to 90kph. What’s more, it lived in roughly the same areas where pronghorn were common. Their body is the main factor in why they run so fast. You might wonder why these animals have to be so quick and attentive. The logic is simple â fast predator, faster prey. Some considered them to be unusual cousins of cougars. The question of why the Pronghorn is so fast when no modern American predator is anywhere near as speedy has often been asked and the favoured answer is predictable. 205:1155-1158, Barnett, R., Barnes, I., Phillips, M., Martin, L., Harington, C., Leonard, J., Cooper, A. Were Romulus and Remus really nursed by a she-wolf. Further, if one reads Byers’s text on these predators, he does say that these cheetahs were “the principal agents of selection” behind the pronghorn’s speed, but the author does point out that things like dholes, wolves, and various species of Borophaginae could have been part of the mix as well. Grizzly bears, wolves, coyotes, bobcats and golden eagles all prey on pronghorns. 15, 15:Â R589-90, Hodnett, J., Mead, J., White, R., Carpenter, M.Â 2010. More recently, at the 2010 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting, John-Paul Hodnett and coauthors presented a poster about Miracinonyx that frequented caves in prehistoric Grand Canyon, Arizona. And while such a find is a longshot, perhaps a trackway made by a Miracinonyx running or launching itself into pursuit could tell us about how these cats actually moved. The animal we call an “antelope” should be more appropriately called “the pronghorn.” It is not an antelope at all, but it is the last survivor of a lineage of creatures that are much more closely related to the various giraffe species and the okapi. In their 1990 study, Van Valkenburgh and collaborators noted that later Miracinonyx bones have been found from Nebraska to Pennsylvania and Florida in deposits which accumulated under varying conditions. Evolution of the extinct sabretooths and the American cheetah-like cat. So their distribution in North America was probably more extensive than we might have assumed, but their fossil record is still quite spotty. 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