Cuitlamiztli

Unknown c at or Hyena of Mexico.

Etymology: Nahuatl (Uto-Aztecan), "glutton cat."

PP'hysical description: Pumalike animal. Behavior: Attacks and eats deer ravenously, hence its name.

Distribution: Mexico.

Significant sighting: In the Aztec ruler's menagerie at Teotihuacan, Mexico, Bernal Díaz reported seeing in 1520 a wolflike animal, which some have equated with the Cuitlamiztli. PP'ossible explanations:

(1) The Onza, though this cat is now considered a regional variation of the Puma (Puma concolor).

(2) Surviving Chasmaporthetes ossifragus, the only fossil hyaenid found in North America, suggested by Karl Shuker to explain Díaz's animal. It was a mobile hunter that lived 2 million-10,000 years ago, from the Pliocene to the Pleistocene. However, Diaz's description is so vague that it might even refer to a Coyote (Canis latrans).

Sources: Bernardino de Sahagún, Florentine Codex: General History of the Things ofNew Spain [1577?], Arthur J. O. Anderson and Charles E. Dibble, trans. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1950-1982), pt. 12, p. 6; Bernal Diaz del Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain [1632], J. M. Cohen, trans. (New York: Penguin, 1963), p. 229; Karl Shuker, Mystery Cats ofthe World (London: Robert Hale, 1989), p. 187.

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