Hyena

Hyenas or hyaenas (from Greek ὕαινα hýaina[1]) are any feliform carnivoran mammals of the family Hyaenidae /haɪˈɛnɪdiː/. With only four extant species (in three genera), it is the fifth-smallest biological family in the Carnivora, and one of the smallest in the class Mammalia.[2] Despite their low diversity, hyenas are unique and vital components of most African ecosystems.[3]

Although phylogenetically they are closer to felines and viverrids, and belong to the feliform category, hyenas are behaviourally and morphologically similar to canines in several elements of convergent evolution; both hyenas and canines are non-arboreal, cursorial hunters that catch prey with their teeth rather than claws. Both eat food quickly and may store it, and their calloused feet with large, blunt, nonretractable claws are adapted for running and making sharp turns. However, the hyenas' grooming, scent marking, defecating habits, mating and parental behaviour are consistent with the behaviour of other feliforms.[4]

Spotted hyenas may kill as many as 95% of the animals they eat,[5] while striped hyenas are largely scavengers.[6] Generally, hyenas are known to drive off larger predators, like lions, from their kills, despite having a reputation in popular culture for being cowardly.[6] Hyenas are primarily nocturnal animals, but sometimes venture from their lairs in the early-morning hours. With the exception of the highly social spotted hyena, hyenas are generally not gregarious animals, though they may live in family groups and congregate at kills.[7]

Hyenas first arose in Eurasia during the Miocene period from viverrid-like ancestors, and diversified into two distinct types: lightly built dog-like hyenas and robust bone-crushing hyenas. Although the dog-like hyenas thrived 15 million years ago (with one taxon having colonised North America), they became extinct after a change in climate along with the arrival of canids into Eurasia. Of the dog-like hyena lineage, only the insectivorous aardwolf survived, while the bone-crushing hyenas (including the extant spotted, brown and striped hyenas) became the undisputed top scavengers of Eurasia and Africa.[8]

Hyenas feature prominently in the folklore and mythology of human cultures that live alongside them. Hyenas are commonly viewed as frightening and worthy of contempt. In some cultures, hyenas are thought to influence people’s spirits, rob graves, and steal livestock and children.[9] Other cultures associate them with witchcraft, using their body parts in traditional African medicine.[10]

Hyenas
Temporal range: 26–0 Ma
Early Miocene-recent
Spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta)
Spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Infraorder: Viverroidea
Family: Hyaenidae
Gray, 1821
Genera
Hyaenidae range
Synonyms
Aardwolf Skeleton
Aardwolf, smallest member of the Hyena family, skeleton. (Museum of Osteology)

Evolution

Origins

Hyenas originated in the jungles of Miocene Eurasia 22 million years ago, when most early feliform species were still largely arboreal. The first ancestral hyenas were likely similar to the modern banded palm civet; one of the earliest hyena species described, Plioviverrops, was a lithe, civet-like animal that inhabited Eurasia 20–22 million years ago, and is identifiable as a hyaenid by the structure of the middle ear and dentition. The lineage of Plioviverrops prospered, and gave rise to descendants with longer legs and more pointed jaws, a direction similar to that taken by canids in North America.[8]

Rise and fall of the dog-like hyenas

Ictitherium viverrinum
Skull of Ictitherium viverrinum, one of the "dog-like" hyenas. American Museum of Natural History

The descendants of Plioviverrops reached their peak 15 million years ago, with more than 30 species having been identified. Unlike most modern hyena species, which are specialised bone-crushers, these dog-like hyenas were nimble-bodied, wolfish animals; one species among them was Ictitherium viverrinum, which was similar to a jackal. The dog-like hyenas were very numerous; in some Miocene fossil sites, the remains of Ictitherium and other dog-like hyenas outnumber those of all other carnivores combined. The decline of the dog-like hyenas began 5–7 million years ago during a period of climate change, which was exacerbated when canids crossed the Bering land bridge to Eurasia. One species, Chasmaporthetes ossifragus, managed to cross the land bridge into North America, being the only hyena to do so. Chasmopothertes managed to survive for some time in North America by deviating from the cursorial and bone-crushing niches monopolised by canids, and developing into a cheetah-like sprinter. Most of the dog-like hyenas had died off by 1.5 million years ago.[8]

Bone-crushing hyenas

By 10–12 million years ago, the hyena family had split into two distinct groups: dog-like hyenas and bone-crushing hyenas. The arrival of the ancestral bone-crushing hyenas coincided with the decline of the similarly built family Percrocutidae. The bone-crushing hyenas survived the changes in climate and the arrival of canids, which wiped out the dog-like hyenas, though they never crossed into North America, as their niche there had already been taken by the dog subfamily Borophaginae. By 5 million years ago, the bone-crushing hyenas had become the dominant scavengers of Eurasia, primarily feeding on large herbivore carcasses felled by sabre-toothed cats. One genus, Pachycrocuta, was a 200 kg (440 lb) mega-scavenger that could splinter the bones of elephants. With the decline of large herbivores by the late ice age, Pachycrocuta was replaced by the smaller Crocuta.[8]

Rise of modern hyenas

Stripedspottedhyenas
Skeletons of a striped hyena and a spotted hyena, two species of the "bone-crushing" hyenas

The four extant species are; Aardwolf, Spotted, Striped and Brown.

The aardwolf (Proteles cristata) can trace its lineage directly back to Plioviverrops 15 million years ago, and is the only survivor of the dog-like hyena lineage. Its success is partly attributed to its insectivorous diet, for which it faced no competition from canids crossing from North America. Its unrivaled ability to digest the terpene excretions from soldier termites is likely a modification of the strong digestive system its ancestors used to digest fetid carrion.[8]

The striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) may have evolved from H. namaquensis of Pliocene Africa. Striped hyena fossils are common in Africa, with records going back as far as the Middle Pleistocene and even to the Villafranchian. As fossil striped hyenas are absent from the Mediterranean region, it is likely that the species is a relatively late invader to Eurasia, having likely spread outside Africa only after the extinction of spotted hyenas in Asia at the end of the Ice Age. The striped hyena occurred for some time in Europe during the Pleistocene, having been particularly widespread in France and Germany. It also occurred in Montmaurin, Hollabrunn in Austria, the Furninha Cave in Portugal and the Genista Caves in Gibraltar. The European form was similar in appearance to modern populations, but was larger, being comparable in size to the brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea).[11]

The spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) diverged from the striped and brown hyena 10 million years ago.[12] Its direct ancestor was the Indian Crocuta sivalensis, which lived during the Villafranchian.[13] Ancestral spotted hyenas probably developed social behaviours in response to increased pressure from rivals on carcasses, thus forcing them to operate in teams. Spotted hyenas evolved sharp carnassials behind their crushing premolars, therefore they did not need to wait for their prey to die, as is the case for brown and striped hyenas, and thus became pack hunters as well as scavengers. They began forming increasingly larger territories, necessitated by the fact that their prey was often migratory, and long chases in a small territory would have caused them to encroach into another clan's turf.[8] Spotted hyenas spread from their original homeland during the Middle Pleistocene, and quickly colonised a very wide area from Europe, to southern Africa and China.[13] With the decline of grasslands 12,500 years ago, Europe experienced a massive loss of lowland habitats favoured by spotted hyenas, and a corresponding increase in mixed woodlands. Spotted hyenas, under these circumstances, would have been outcompeted by wolves and humans, who were as much at home in forests as in open lands—and in highlands as in lowlands. Spotted hyena populations began to shrink after roughly 20,000 years ago, completely disappearing from Western Europe between 11 and 14 thousand years ago, and earlier in some areas.[14]

Genera of the Hyaenidae (extinct and recent)

Short-faced hyena1
Reconstruction of Pachycrocuta brevirostris
Crocuta crocuta
A spotted hyena of subfamily Hyaeninae

The list follows McKenna and Bells Classification of Mammals for prehistoric genera (1997)[15] and Wozencraft (2005) in Wilson and Reeders Mammal Species of the World for extant genera.[16] The percrocutids are, in contrast to McKenna and Bell's classification, not included as a subfamily into the Hyaenidae, but as the separate family Percrocutidae (though they are generally grouped as sister-taxa to hyenas[17]). Furthermore, the living brown hyena and its closest extinct relatives are not included in the genus Pachycrocuta, but in the genus Hyaena. The Protelinae (aardwolves) are not treated as a separate subfamily, but included in the Hyaeninae.

  • Family Hyaenidae
      • Tongxinictis (Middle Miocene of Asia)
    • Subfamily Ictitheriinae
      • Herpestides (Early Miocene of Africa and Eurasia)
      • Plioviverrops (including Jordanictis, Protoviverrops, Mesoviverrops; Early Miocene to Early Pliocene of Europe, Late Miocene of Asia)
      • Ictitherium (=Galeotherium; including Lepthyaena, Sinictitherium, Paraictitherium; Middle Miocene of Africa, Late Miocene to Early Pliocene of Eurasia)
      • Thalassictis (including Palhyaena, Miohyaena, Hyaenictitherium, Hyaenalopex; Middle to Late Miocene of Asia, Late Miocene of Africa and Europe)
      • Hyaenotherium (Late Miocene to Early Pliocene of Eurasia)
      • Miohyaenotherium (Late Miocene of Europe)
      • Lychyaena (Late Miocene of Eurasia)
      • Tungurictis (Middle Miocene of Africa and Eurasia)
      • Protictitherium (Middle Miocene of Africa and Asia, Middle to Late Miocene of Europe)
    • Subfamily Hyaeninae
      • Palinhyaena (Late Miocene of Asia)
      • Ikelohyaena (Early Pliocene of Africa)
      • Hyaena (=Euhyaena, =Parahyaena; including striped hyena, brown hyena, Pliohyaena, Pliocrocuta, Anomalopithecus) Early Pliocene (?Middle Miocene) to Recent of Africa, Late Pliocene (?Late Miocene) to Late Pleistocene of Europe, Late Pliocene to recent in Asia
      • Hyaenictis (Late Miocene of Asia?, Late Miocene of Europe, Early Pliocene (?Early Pleistocene) of Africa)
      • Leecyaena (Late Miocene and/or Early Pliocene of Asia)
      • Chasmaporthetes (=Ailuriaena; including Lycaenops, Euryboas; Late Miocene to Early Pleistocene of Eurasia, Early Pliocene to Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene of Africa, Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene of North America)
      • Pachycrocuta (Pliocene and Pleistocene of Eurasia and Africa)
      • Adcrocuta (Late Miocene of Eurasia)
      • Crocuta (=Crocotta; including Eucrocuta; spotted hyena and cave hyena. Late Pliocene to recent of Africa, Late Pliocene to Late Pleistocene of Eurasia)
    • Subfamily Protelinae

Phylogeny

The following cladogram illustrates the phylogenetic relationships between extant and extinct hyaenids based on the morphological analysis by Werdelin & Solounias (1991).[18]

Evolution of hyaenas

Hypothetical ancestor

Protictitherium crassum

"Protictitherium" cingulatum

"Protictitherium" intermedium

"Protictitherium" llopisi

"Protictitherium" punicum

"Protictitherium" gaillardi

Plioviverrops

Plioviverrops gervaisi

    Civet/mongoose-like insectivore-omnivores

Plioviverrops gaudryi

Plioviverrops guerini

Plioviverrops orbignyi

Proteles

Proteles cristatus (aardwolf) The life of animals (Colored Plate 4) (proteles cristatus).jpg

Proteles amplidentus

Tongxinictis primordialis

Tungurictis spocki

Ictitherium

Ictitherium viverrinum

Ictitherium tauricum

    Jackal-like hyaenas

Ictitherium ibericum

Ictitherium kurteni

Ictitherium intuberculatum

Ictitherium pannonicum

Thalassictis robusta

"Thalassictis" certa

"Thalassictis" montadai

"Thalassictis" proava

"Thalassictis" sarmatica

"Thalassictis" spelaea

Hyaenotherium wongii

Miohyaenotherium bessarabicum

Hyaenictitherium hyaenoides

"Hyaenictitherium" pilgrimi

"Hyaenictitherium" parvum

"Hyaenictitherium" namaquensis

Lycyaena chaeretis

Lycyaena dubia

    Cursorial hunting hyaenas

Lycyaena macrostoma

Lycyaena crusafonti

Hyaenictis graeca

Hyaenictis almerai

Hyaenictis sp.

Chasmaporthetes

Chasmaporthetes exitelus

Chasmaporthetes borissiaki

Chasmaporthetes lunensis

Chasmaporthetes ossifragus

Chasmaporthetes sp.

Chasmaporthetes nitidula

Chasmaporthetes australis

(running hyaenas)
Hyaeninae
Bone-cracking hyaenas    

Palinhyaena reperta

Ikelohyaena abronia

Belbus beaumonti

Hyaenid "sp. E"

Leecyaena lycyaenoides

"Leecyaena" bosei

Parahyaena brunnea (brown hyaena) Hyaena fusca (white background).jpg

Hyaena hyaena (striped hyaena) Hyaena striata - 1818-1842 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam -(white background).jpg

Pliocrocuta perrieri

Pachycrocuta brevirostris (giant hyaena)

"Pachycrocuta" bellax

Adcrocuta eximia

Crocuta crocuta (spotted hyaena) Hyaena maculata - 1818-1842 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam -(white background).jpg

Crocuta sivalensis

Crocuta dietrichi

(bone-cracking
hyaenas)

Phylogenic relationships based on morphological characteristics, after Werdelin & Solounias (1991).

A more recent molecular analysis gives a slightly different phylogenetic relationship between the four extant hyaenidae species (Koepfli et al, 2006[19]).

Hyaenidae

Proteles cristatus (aardwolf) The life of animals (Colored Plate 4) (proteles cristatus)

Crocuta crocuta (spotted hyena) Hyaena maculata - 1818-1842 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam -(white background)

Parahyaena brunnea (brown hyena) Hyaena fusca (white background)

Hyaena hyaena (striped hyena) Hyaena striata - 1818-1842 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam -(white background)

Characteristics

Build

StripedHyenaSkull
Striped hyena skull. Note the disproportionately large carnassials and premolars adapted for bone consumption
Aardwolfskull
Aardwolf skull. Note the greatly reduced molars and carnassials, rendered redundant from insectivory

Hyenas have relatively short torsos and are fairly massive and wolf-like in build, but have lower hind quarters, high withers and their backs slope noticeably downward toward their rumps. The forelegs are high, while the hind legs are very short and their necks are thick and short. Their skulls superficially resemble those of large canids, but are much larger and heavier, with shorter facial portions. Hyenas are digitigrade, with the fore and hind paws having four digits each and sporting bulging pawpads.[20] Like canids, hyenas have short, blunt, non-retractable claws.[21] Their pelage is sparse and coarse with poorly developed or absent underfur. Most species have a rich mane of long hair running from the withers or from the head.[20] With the exception of the spotted hyena, hyaenids have striped coats, which they likely inherited from their viverrid ancestors.[8] Their ears are large and have simple basal ridges and no marginal bursa.[21] Their vertebral column, including the cervical region are of limited mobility. Hyenas have no baculum.[22] Hyenas have one more pair of ribs than canids do, and their tongues are rough like those of felids and viverrids.[23] Males in most hyena species are larger than females,[24] though the spotted hyena is exceptional, as it is the female of the species that outweighs and dominates the male. Also, unlike other hyenas, the female spotted hyena's external genitalia closely resembles that of the male.[25]

Their dentition is similar to that of the canid, but is more specialised for consuming coarse food and crushing bones. The carnassials, especially the upper, are very powerful and are shifted far back to the point of exertion of peak pressure on the jaws. The other teeth, save for the underdeveloped upper molars, are powerful, with broad bases and cutting edges. The canines are short, but thick and robust.[22] Labiolingually, their mandibles are much stronger at the canine teeth than in canids, reflecting the fact that hyenas crack bones with both their anterior dentition and premolars, unlike canids, which do so with their post-carnassial molars.[26] The strength of their jaws is such that both striped and spotted hyenas have been recorded to kill dogs with a single bite to the neck without breaking the skin.[27][28] The spotted hyena is renowned for its strong bite proportional to its size, but a number of other animals (including the Tasmanian devil) are proportionately stronger.[29][30] The aardwolf has greatly reduced cheek teeth, sometimes absent in the adult, but otherwise has the same dentition as the other three species.[31] The dental formula for all hyena species is: 3.1.4.13.1.3.1

Although Hyenas lack perineal scent glands, they have a large pouch of naked skin located at the anal opening. Large anal glands above the anus open into this pouch. Several sebaceous glands are present between the openings of the anal glands and above them.[21] These glands produce a white, creamy secretion that the hyenas paste onto grass stalks. The odour of this secretion is very strong, smelling of boiling cheap soap or burning, and can be detected by humans several metres downwind.[32] The secretions are primarily used for territorial marking, though both the aardwolf[8] and the striped hyena[33] will spray them when attacked.

Behaviour

2667 Spotted Hyena Cubs
Spotted hyena cubs at their den
Parahyaena brunnea puppy
Brown hyena cub standing on a path of stones

Hyenas groom themselves often like felids and viverrids, and their way of licking their genitals is very cat-like (sitting on the lower back, legs spread with one leg pointing vertically upward). However, unlike other feliforms, they do not "wash" their faces. They defecate in the same manner as other Carnivora, though they never raise their legs as canids do when urinating, as urination serves no territorial function for them. Instead, hyenas mark their territories using their anal glands, a trait found also in viverrids and mustelids, but not canids and felids.[34] When attacked by lions or dogs, striped[6] and brown hyenas[35] will feign death, though the spotted hyena will defend itself ferociously.[28] The spotted hyena is very vocal, producing a number of different sounds consisting of whoops, grunts, groans, lows, giggles, yells, growls, laughs and whines.[36] The striped hyena is comparatively silent, its vocalisations being limited to a chattering laugh and howling.[37]

Whoop of a spotted hyena in Umfolosi Game Park, South Africa.

Mating between hyenas involves a number of short copulations with brief intervals, unlike canids, who generally engage in a single, drawn out copulation.[34] Spotted hyena cubs are born almost fully developed, with their eyes open and erupting incisors and canines, though lacking adult markings.[38] In contrast, striped hyena cubs are born with adult markings, closed eyes and small ears.[39] Hyenas do not regurgitate food for their young and male spotted hyenas play no part in raising their cubs,[34] though male striped hyenas do so.[40]

The striped hyena is primarily a scavenger, though it will occasionally attack and kill any defenseless animal it can overcome,[6] and will supplement its diet with fruits.[41] The spotted hyena, though it also scavenges occasionally, is an active pack hunter of medium to large sized ungulates, which it catches by wearing them down in long chases and dismembering them in a canid-like manner. The aardwolf is primarily an insectivore, specialised for feeding on termites of the genus Trinervitermes and Hodotermes, which it consumes by licking them up with its long, broad tongue. An aardwolf can eat 300,000 Trinervitermes on a single outing.[8]

Relationships with humans

Folklore, mythology and literature

20,000 Year Old Cave Paintings Hyena
Cave hyena (Crocuta crocuta spelaea) painting found in the Chauvet Cave in 1994
Hyenamosaic
A striped hyena, as depicted on the Nile mosaic of Palestrina

Spotted hyenas vary in their folkloric and mythological depictions, depending on the ethnic group from which the tales originate. It is often difficult to know whether spotted hyenas are the specific hyena species featured in such stories, particularly in West Africa, as both spotted and striped hyenas are often given the same names. In western African tales, spotted hyenas are sometimes depicted as bad Muslims who challenge the local animism that exists among the Beng in Côte d’Ivoire. In East Africa, Tabwa mythology portrays the spotted hyena as a solar animal that first brought the sun to warm the cold earth, while West African folklore generally shows the hyena as symbolizing immorality, dirty habits, the reversal of normal activities, and other negative traits. In Tanzania, there is a belief that witches use spotted hyenas as mounts.[42] In the Mtwara Region of Tanzania, it is believed that a child born at night while a hyena is crying will likely grow up to be a thief. In the same area, hyena faeces are believed to enable a child to walk at an early age, thus it is not uncommon in that area to see children with hyena dung wrapped in their clothes.[43] The Kaguru of Tanzania and the Kujamaat of Southern Senegal view hyenas as inedible and greedy hermaphrodites. A mythical African tribe called the Bouda is reputed to house members able to transform into hyenas.[44] A similar myth occurs in Mansôa. These "werehyenas" are executed when discovered, but do not revert to their human form when killed.[43]

Striped hyenas are often referred to in Middle Eastern literature and folklore, typically as symbols of treachery and stupidity.[45] In the Near and Middle East, striped hyenas are generally regarded as physical incarnations of jinns.[42] Arab writer Al-Quazweeni (1204–1283) spoke of a tribe of people called Al-Dabeyoun meaning "hyena people". In his book Aajeb Al-Makhlouqat he wrote that should one of this tribe be in a group of 1000 people, a hyena could pick him out and eat him.[45] A Persian medical treatise written in 1376 tells how to cure cannibalistic people known as kaftar, who are said to be “half-man, half-hyena”.[42] Al-Doumairy in his writings in Hawayan Al-Koubra (1406) wrote that striped hyenas were vampiric creatures that attacked people at night and sucked the blood from their necks. He also wrote that hyenas only attacked brave people. Arab folklore tells of how hyenas can mesmerise victims with their eyes or sometimes with their pheromones.[45] In a similar vein to Al-Doumairy, the Greeks, until the end of the 19th century, believed that the bodies of werewolves, if not destroyed, would haunt battlefields as vampiric hyenas that drank the blood of dying soldiers.[46] The image of striped hyenas in Afghanistan, India and Palestine is more varied. Though feared, striped hyenas were also symbolic for love and fertility, leading to numerous varieties of love medicine derived from hyena body parts. Among the Baluch and in northern India, witches or magicians are said to ride striped hyenas at night.[42]

The striped hyena is mentioned in the Bible. The Arab word for the hyena, ḍab` or ḍabu` (plural ḍibā`), is alluded to in a valley in Palestine known as Shaqq-ud-Diba` (meaning "cleft of the hyenas") and Wadi-Abu-Diba` (meaning "valley of the hyenas"). Both places have been interpreted by some scholars as being the Biblical Valley of Tsebo`im mentioned in 1 Samuel 13:18. The modern Hebrew word for hyena is tzavoa`, which is similar to the word "tsavua`" meaning "colored". Though the Authorized King James Version of the Bible interprets the term "`ayit tsavua`" (which appears in Jeremiah 12:9) as "speckled bird", Henry Baker Tristram argued that it was most likely a hyena being mentioned.[47]

The vocalisation of the spotted hyena resembling hysterical human laughter has been alluded to in numerous works of literature: "to laugh like a hyæna" was a common simile, and is featured in The Cobbler's Prophecy (1594), Webster's Duchess of Malfy (1623) and Shakespeares As You Like It, Act IV. Sc.1.

Bud and Lou, from the DC Comics, are also hyenas and are pets of Harley Quinn.

Hyenas are also featured in Disney's animated features, such as Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp, Noah's Ark, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and The Lion King.

Attacks on humans

Hyena attack (1842 woodcut)
Illustration from Fraser's magazine showing an artist's impression of a "stag-hound" biting a spotted hyena attacking its master
Bodleian Libraries, Handbill of Merchant's Hall, 1739, announcing A lion, lionesses, tigers, etc.
A 1739 advert by Charles Benjamin Incledon featuring feliforms: the Mesopotamian lion from the vicinity of Bassorah, Cape lion, tiger from the East Indies, panther from Buenos Aires, Hyaena hyaena from West Africa, and leopard from Turkey, besides a "Man tyger" from Africa. The advert mentions that the 'hyaena' can mimic a human voice to lure humans.

Among hyenas, only the spotted and striped hyenas have been known to become man-eaters. Hyenas are known to have preyed on humans in prehistory: Human hair has been found in fossilised hyena dung dating back 195,000 to 257,000 years.[48] Some paleontologists believe that competition and predation by cave hyenas (Crocuta crocuta spelaea) in Siberia was a significant factor in delaying human colonization of Alaska. Hyenas may have occasionally stolen human kills, or entered campsites to drag off the young and weak, much like modern spotted hyenas in Africa. The oldest Alaskan human remains coincide with roughly the same time cave hyenas became extinct, leading certain paleontologists to infer that hyena predation was what prevented humans crossing the Bering strait earlier.[49] Hyenas readily scavenge from human corpses; in Ethiopia, hyenas were reported to feed extensively on the corpses of victims of the 1960 attempted coup[50] and the Red Terror.[51] Hyenas habituated to scavenging on human corpses may develop bold behaviours towards living people; hyena attacks on people in southern Sudan increased during the Second Sudanese Civil War, when human corpses were readily available to them.[52]

Although spotted hyenas do prey on humans in modern times, such incidents are rare. However, according to the SGDRN (Sociedade para a Gestão e Desenvolvimento da Reserva do Niassa Moçambique), attacks on humans by spotted hyenas are likely to be underreported.[53] According to hyena expert Dr. Hans Kruuk, man-eating spotted hyenas tend to be very large specimens: A pair of man-eating hyenas, responsible for killing 27 people in Mulanje (Mlanje), Malawi in 1962, were weighed at 72 kg (159 lb) and 77 kg (170 lb) after being shot.[54] In 1903, Hector Duff wrote of how spotted hyenas in the Mzimba district of Angoniland would wait at dawn outside people's huts and attack them when they opened their doors.[55] Victims of spotted hyenas tend to be women, children and sick or infirm men: Theodore Roosevelt wrote on how in 1908–1909 in Uganda, spotted hyenas regularly killed sufferers of African sleeping sickness as they slept outside in camps.[56] Spotted hyenas are widely feared in Malawi, where they have been known to occasionally attack people at night, particularly during the hot season when people sleep outside. Hyena attacks were widely reported in Malawi's Phalombe plain, to the north of Michesi Mountain. Five deaths were recorded in 1956, five in 1957 and six in 1958. This pattern continued until 1961 when eight people were killed. Attacks occurred most commonly in September, when people slept outdoors, and bush fires made the hunting of wild game difficult for the hyenas.[53][55] An anecdotal news report from the World Wide Fund for Nature 2004 indicates that 35 people were killed by spotted hyenas in a 12-month period in Mozambique along a 20 km stretch of road near the Tanzanian border.[53]

In ordinary circumstances, striped hyenas are extremely timid around humans, though they may show bold behaviours toward people at night.[57] On rare occasions, striped hyenas have preyed on humans. In the 1880s, a hyena was reported to have attacked humans, especially sleeping children, over a three-year period in the Iğdır Province, with 25 children and 3 adults being wounded in one year. The attacks provoked local authorities into announcing a reward of 100 rubles for every hyena killed. Further attacks were reported later in some parts of Transcaucasia, particularly in 1908. Instances are known in Azerbaijan of striped hyenas killing children sleeping in courtyards during the 1930s and 1940s. In 1942, a sleeping guard was mauled in his hut by a hyena in Qalıncaq (Golyndzhakh). Cases of children being taken by hyenas by night are known in southeast Turkmenia's Bathyz Nature Reserve. A further attack on a child was reported around Serakhs in 1948.[58] Several attacks have occurred in India; in 1962, nine children were thought to have been taken by hyenas in the town of Bhagalpur in the Bihar State in a six-week period[47] and 19 children up to the age of four were killed by hyenas in Karnataka in 1974.[59] A consensus on wild animal attacks during a five-year period in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh showed that hyenas had only attacked three people, the lowest figure when compared to deaths caused by wolves, gaur, boar, elephants, tigers, leopards and sloth bears.[60]

Hyenas as food and medicine

Hyenas are used for food and medicinal purposes in Somalia[61] although it is considered haraam in Islam.[62] This practice dates back to the times of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, who believed that different parts of the hyena's body were effective means to ward off evil and to ensure love and fertility.[42]

References

Notes

  1. ^ ὕαινα, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus. Etymologically, this is a feminine of ὕς "swine".
  2. ^ Wilson, D.E.; Mittermeier, R.A., eds. (2009). Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 1: Carnivora. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 50–658. ISBN 978-84-96553-49-1.
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Bibliography

Further reading

  • Funk, Holdger (2010) Hyaena: On the Naming and Localisation of an Enigmatic Animal, GRIN Verlag, ISBN 3-640-69784-7
  • Lawick, Hugo & Goodall, Jane (1971) Innocent Killers, Houghton Mifflin Company Boston
  • Mills, M. G. L. (2003) Kalahari Hyenas: Comparative Behavioral Ecology of Two Species, The Blackburn Press

External links

Aardwolf

The aardwolf (Proteles cristata) is a small, insectivorous mammal, native to East and Southern Africa. Its name means "earth-wolf" in Afrikaans and Dutch. It is also called "maanhaar-jackal" (Afrikaans for "mane-jackal") or civet hyena, based on its habit of secreting substances from its anal gland, a characteristic shared with the African civet. The aardwolf is in the same family as the hyena. Unlike many of its relatives in the order Carnivora, the aardwolf does not hunt large animals. It eats insects and their larvae, mainly termites; one aardwolf can lap up as many as 250,000 termites during a single night using its long, sticky tongue.The aardwolf lives in the shrublands of eastern and southern Africa – open lands covered with stunted trees and shrubs. It is nocturnal, resting in burrows during the day and emerging at night to seek food.

Armstrong Siddeley Hyena

The Armstrong Siddeley Hyena was a British aero engine developed by Armstrong Siddeley. Designed in the 1930s, it was an unusual experimental radial engine with inline cylinder banks. It was flown using an Armstrong Whitworth A.W.16 fighter aircraft as a test bed. Unresolved problems with cooling of the rear cylinders prevented the engine from going into production. Few details of this engine survive as company records were lost.

Basil Wolverton

Basil Wolverton (July 9, 1909 – December 31, 1978) was an American cartoonist and illustrator, and "Producer of Preposterous Pictures of Peculiar People who Prowl this Perplexing Planet." His many publishers included Marvel Comics and Mad magazine.

His drawings have elicited a wide range of reactions. Cartoonist Will Elder said he found Wolverton's technique "outrageously inventive, defying every conventional standard yet upholding a very unusual sense of humor. He was a refreshing original." But Jules Feiffer stated, "I don't like his work. I think it's ugly."He was posthumously inducted into the comic book industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1991.

Brown hyena

The brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea, formerly Parahyaena brunnea), also called strandwolf, is a species of hyena found in Namibia, Botswana, western and southern Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique and South Africa. It is currently the rarest species of hyena. The largest remaining brown hyena population is located in the southern Kalahari Desert and coastal areas in Southwest Africa.

Cave hyena

The cave hyena (Crocuta crocuta spelaea), also known as the Ice Age spotted hyena, was a paleosubspecies of spotted hyena which ranged from the Iberian Peninsula to eastern Siberia. It is one of the best known mammals of the Ice Age and is well represented in many European bone caves. The cave hyena was a highly specialised animal, with its progressive and regressive features being more developed than in its modern African relative. It preyed on large mammals (primarily wild horses, steppe bison and woolly rhinoceros), and was responsible for the accumulation of hundreds of large Pleistocene mammal bones in areas including horizontal caves, sinkholes, mud pits and muddy areas along rivers.The cause of the cave hyena's extinction is not fully understood, though it could have been due to a combination of factors, including climate change and competition with other predators.

Chasmaporthetes

Chasmaporthetes, also known as hunting or running hyena, is an extinct genus of hyenas distributed in Eurasia, North America, and Africa during the Pliocene-Pleistocene epochs, living from 4.9 million to 780,000 years ago, existing for about 4.12 million years. The genus probably arose from Eurasian Miocene hyenas such as Thalassictis or Lycyaena, with C. borissiaki being the oldest known representative. The species C. ossifragus was the only hyena to cross the Bering land bridge into the Americas, and ranged over what is now Arizona and Mexico during Blancan and early Irvingtonian Land Mammal ages, between 5.0 and 1.5 million years ago.Chasmaporthetes was one of the so-called "dog-like" hyenas (of which the aardwolf is the only survivor), a hyaenid group which, in contrast to the now more common "bone-crushing" hyenas, evolved into slender-limbed, cursorial hunters like modern canids.The genus has entered the popular culture lexicon as a result of cryptozoologic claims, having been proposed as the likely origin of the American Shunka Warakin and the Cuitlamiztli.

Clitoris

The clitoris ( (listen) or (listen)) is a female sex organ present in mammals, ostriches and a limited number of other animals. In humans, the visible portion - the glans - is at the front junction of the labia minora (inner lips), above the opening of the urethra. Unlike the penis, the male homologue (equivalent) to the clitoris, it usually does not contain the distal portion (or opening) of the urethra and is therefore not used for urination. The clitoris also usually lacks a reproductive function. While few animals urinate through the clitoris or use it reproductively, the spotted hyena, which has an especially large clitoris, urinates, mates, and gives birth via the organ. Some other mammals, such as lemurs and spider monkeys, also have a large clitoris.The clitoris is the human female's most sensitive erogenous zone and generally the primary anatomical source of human female sexual pleasure. In humans and other mammals, it develops from an outgrowth in the embryo called the genital tubercle. Initially undifferentiated, the tubercle develops into either a penis or a clitoris during the development of the reproductive system depending on exposure to androgens (which are primarily male hormones). The clitoris is a complex structure, and its size and sensitivity can vary. The glans (head) of the human clitoris is roughly the size and shape of a pea, and is estimated to have about 8,000 sensory nerve endings.Sexological, medical, and psychological debate have focused on the clitoris, and it has been subject to social constructionist analyses and studies. Such discussions range from anatomical accuracy, gender inequality, female genital mutilation, and orgasmic factors and their physiological explanation for the G-spot. Although, in humans, the only known purpose of the clitoris is to provide sexual pleasure, whether the clitoris is vestigial, an adaptation, or serves a reproductive function has been debated. Social perceptions of the clitoris include the significance of its role in female sexual pleasure, assumptions about its true size and depth, and varying beliefs regarding genital modification such as clitoris enlargement, clitoris piercing and clitoridectomy. Genital modification may be for aesthetic, medical or cultural reasons.Knowledge of the clitoris is significantly impacted by cultural perceptions of the organ. Studies suggest that knowledge of its existence and anatomy is scant in comparison with that of other sexual organs, and that more education about it could help alleviate social stigmas associated with the female body and female sexual pleasure; for example, that the clitoris and vulva in general are visually unappealing, that female masturbation is taboo, or that men should be expected to master and control women's orgasms.

De Havilland Hyena

The de Havilland DH.56 Hyena was a prototype British army cooperation aircraft of the 1920s. A single-engined biplane, the Hyena was designed against an RAF requirement, but was unsuccessful with only two being built, the Armstrong Whitworth Atlas being preferred.

Hyaena

Hyaena is a genus comprising two of the living species of hyenas: the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) from western Asia and northern Africa and the brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea) from southern Africa. The brown hyena has sometimes been placed in a separate genus Parahyaena, or even included in the otherwise fossil genus Pachycrocuta, but recent sources have tended to place it in Hyaena.

The brown hyena's skull is larger than that of the striped hyena. The male brown hyena is slightly larger than the female, while the sexes of the striped hyena are equally sized. Both species are smaller than the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), but larger than the aardwolf (Proteles cristata). They are predominantly scavengers.

Kishi (folklore)

The kishi is a two-faced demon in Angola. According to legend, a kishi has an attractive human man's face on the front of its body and a hyena's face on the back. Kishi are said to use their human face, as well as smooth talk and other charms to attract young women, who they then eat with the hyena face. The hyena face is said to have long sharp teeth and jaws so strong they cannot be pulled off anything it bites.

The word kishi, nkishi, or mukisi means "spirit" in several Bantu languages spoken in Zaire, northern Zambia, and Angola.

List of The Lion King characters

Disney's The Lion King franchise is a series of animated feature films and cartoon spin-offs, centred around the adventures of Simba, a young lion cub, as he grows up in the Pride Lands, exploring and getting into trouble with his friends. During the course of the franchise, Simba grows and matures and later takes his father's place as King. As the series continued, an extensive cast of characters was introduced, including a new generation of the family of Pride Rock.

List of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of Gujarat, India

The Gujarat state of western India has four National Parks and twenty-three wildlife sancturies which are managed by the Forest Department of the Government of Gujarat.

Sexual cleansing

Sexual cleansing (kusasa fumbi) is an African tradition practiced in parts of Zambia, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, Ivory Coast, and Congo. In the tradition, a girl or woman is expected to have sex as a cleansing ritual after her first period, after becoming widowed, or after having an abortion.

Spotted hyena

The spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), also known as the laughing hyena, is a hyena species, currently classed as the sole member of the genus Crocuta, native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It is listed as being of least concern by the IUCN on account of its widespread range and large numbers estimated between 27,000 and 47,000 individuals. The species is, however, experiencing declines outside of protected areas due to habitat loss and poaching. The species may have originated in Asia, and once ranged throughout Europe for at least one million years until the end of the Late Pleistocene. The spotted hyena is the largest known member of the Hyaenidae, and is further physically distinguished from other species by its vaguely bear-like build, its rounded ears, its less prominent mane, its spotted pelt, its more dual purposed dentition, its fewer nipples and the presence of a pseudo-penis in the female. It is the only mammalian species to lack an external vaginal opening.The spotted hyena is the most social of the Carnivora in that it has the largest group sizes and most complex social behaviours. Its social organisation is unlike that of any other carnivore, bearing closer resemblance to that of cercopithecine primates (baboons and macaques) with respect to group-size, hierarchical structure, and frequency of social interaction among both kin and unrelated group-mates. However, the social system of the spotted hyena is openly competitive rather than cooperative, with access to kills, mating opportunities and the time of dispersal for males depending on the ability to dominate other clan-members. Females provide only for their own cubs rather than assist each other, and males display no paternal care. Spotted hyena society is matriarchal; females are larger than males, and dominate them.The spotted hyena is a highly successful animal, being the most common large carnivore in Africa. Its success is due in part to its adaptability and opportunism; it is primarily a hunter but may also scavenge, with the capacity to eat and digest skin, bone and other animal waste. In functional terms, the spotted hyena makes the most efficient use of animal matter of all African carnivores. The spotted hyena displays greater plasticity in its hunting and foraging behaviour than other African carnivores; it hunts alone, in small parties of 2–5 individuals or in large groups. During a hunt, spotted hyenas often run through ungulate herds in order to select an individual to attack. Once selected, their prey is chased over a long distance, often several kilometres, at speeds of up to 60 km/h.The spotted hyena has a long history of interaction with humanity; depictions of the species exist from the Upper Paleolithic period, with carvings and paintings from the Lascaux and Chauvet Caves. The species has a largely negative reputation in both Western culture and African folklore. In the former, the species is mostly regarded as ugly and cowardly, while in the latter, it is viewed as greedy, gluttonous, stupid, and foolish, yet powerful and potentially dangerous. The majority of Western perceptions on the species can be found in the writings of Aristotle and Pliny the Elder, though in relatively unjudgemental form. Explicit, negative judgements occur in the Physiologus, where the animal is depicted as a hermaphrodite and grave-robber. The IUCN's hyena specialist group identifies the spotted hyena's negative reputation as detrimental to the species' continued survival, both in captivity and the wild.

Striped hyena

The striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) is a species of hyena native to North and East Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It is listed by the IUCN as near-threatened, as the global population is estimated to be under 10,000 mature individuals which continues to experience deliberate and incidental persecution along with a decrease in its prey base such that it may come close to meeting a continuing decline of 10% over the next three generations.It is the smallest of the true hyenas and retains many primitive viverrid characteristics lost in larger species, having a smaller and less specialised skull. Though primarily a scavenger, large specimens have been known to kill their own prey, and attacks on humans have occurred on rare instances. The striped hyena is a monogamous animal, with both males and females assisting one another in raising their cubs. A nocturnal animal, the striped hyena typically only emerges in complete darkness, and is quick to return to its lair before sunrise. Although it has a habit of feigning death when attacked, it has been known to stand its ground against larger predators in disputes over food.The striped hyena features prominently in Middle Eastern and Asian folklore. In some areas, its body parts are considered magical, and are used as charms or talismans. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, where it is referred to as tzebua or zevoa, though the species is absent in some Bible translations into English. Ancient Greeks knew it as γλάνος (glanos) and ύαινα (iena-hyena) and were familiar with it from the Aegean coast of Asia Minor.

The Fearless Hyena

The Fearless Hyena is a 1979 Hong Kong action comedy kung fu film written, directed by and starring Jackie Chan.

The film has been released on several alternative titles internationally, including:

Revenge of the Dragon (USA video title)

Superfighter 3 (West Germany video title)

The Shadowman (West Germany video title)

The Island of Doctor Moreau

The Island of Doctor Moreau is an 1896 science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. The text of the novel is the narration of Edward Prendick, a shipwrecked man rescued by a passing boat who is left on the island home of Doctor Moreau, a mad scientist who creates human-like hybrid beings from animals via vivisection. The novel deals with a number of philosophical themes, including pain and cruelty, moral responsibility, human identity, and human interference with nature. Wells described it as "an exercise in youthful blasphemy."The Island of Doctor Moreau is a classic of early science fiction and remains one of Wells' best-known books. The novel is the earliest depiction of the science fiction motif "uplift" in which a more advanced race intervenes in the evolution of an animal species to bring the latter to a higher level of intelligence. It has been adapted to film and other media on many occasions, with Charles Laughton (1933), Burt Lancaster (1977), and Marlon Brando (1996) as the mad doctor.

The Lion Guard

The Lion Guard is an American animated television series developed by Ford Riley and based on Disney's 1994 film The Lion King. The series was first broadcast with a television movie titled The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar on Disney Channel on November 22, 2015 and began airing as a TV series on January 15, 2016 on Disney Junior and Disney Channel. It is the second television series to be based on The Lion King, the first being Timon & Pumbaa. The Lion Guard is a sequel to The Lion King and takes place during the time-gap within the 1998 film The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.The second season premiered on July 7, 2017. A third season was commissioned in March 2017.

Werehyena

Were-hyena is a neologism coined in analogy to werewolf for therianthropy involving hyenas. It is common in the folklore of North Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Near East, as well as some adjacent territories. Unlike werewolves and other therianthropes, which are usually portrayed as being originally human, some werehyena lore tells of how they can also be hyenas disguised as humans.

Extant Carnivora species

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