Deadliest Beasts Wiki

Size comparison to Pachycrocuta Brevirostris to a modern hyena.

Pachyrocuta! The giant hyena, with mighty jaws able to snap elephant bones! Cave bear! The massive beast, feared and worshipped by early man! WHO....IS...DEADLIEST!?!?!

Pachycrocuta breviostris


Eastern Africa, parts of Eurasia


Height: 100 cm (39 in) at the shoulder

Weight: 190 kg (420 lb)


Large animals


Strong jaws, sharp teeth, claws

Battle Status

In reserve, will fight Cave Bear


Pachycrocuta was a genus of prehistoric hyenas. The largest and most well-researched species was the giant hyena Pachycrocuta brevirostris, which stood about 100 cm (39 in) at the shoulder and may have weighed 190 kg (420 lb)[[|[1]]] — the size of a lioness. This would make it the largest hyena to have ever lived. It lived between the Middle Pliocene and the Middle Pleistocene, about 3 million to 500,000 years ago. Fossil remains have been found in many localities of Eurasia and southern and eastern Africa. Most material consists of fragmented remains, usually of the skull, but there has been a cache of very comprehensive bone material unearthed at the famous Zhoukoudian locality which probably represents the remains of animals which used these caves as lairs for many millennia,[[|[2]]] while at the western end of their former range, a huge assemblage of Pleistocene fossils at Venta Micena in southeastern Spain also represents a den.

It probably was a small-pack hunter of large animals (up to deer size and occasionally larger) and also scavenged for food. Possibly it preferentially did the latter because it was a very heavyset animal not built for chasing prey over long distances. In this aspect it would have differed from the Spotted Hyena of today, which is a more nimble animal that, contrary to its image as a scavenger, usually kills its own food but often gets displaced by lions. Apparently it was ecologically close enough to the smaller (but still large) relative Pliocrocuta perrieri that they are never found as contemporary fossils in the same region.

Other proposed species, P. robusta and P. pyrenaica, are less well researched; the former may simply be an exceptionally large European paleosubspecies of the Brown Hyena, Hyaena brunnea. Sometimes included in this genus (as Pachycrocuta bellax) is the extinct giant striped hyaena, Hyaena bellax.