Contact us -carnivore

The African carnivore program and its international network constitutes a first step to a better understanding of their biology as well as what they can tell us about their origin with data on the paleoecosytems.


This will be link modern and past information on carnivores within Quaternary perspective, with possible development to include other biological data (herbivores, flora) as well as relevant geological s.l. data.


One of the main outcomes will be to ensure better integrative approaches of understanding complex conditions using modern proxies to be transferred to the past information.


– The website would like to be the base of a large relational Data-Base on large carnivores in Africa that includes information on and analyses of:

* Carnivore sites : Location of bone assemblage sites, carnivore species composition (and frequency) and chronology (dates) for the Quaternary period; this data will be gathered from members of the network and from literature (each member would fill a excel file with same structure, and send to the leader of the project, in order to be homogenize and then share by all) *

Morphometrical database on skull, teeth and post-cranial elements from different African countries, based on both fossils and modern specimens; one of the objectives would be to see if there are any differences (in term of body-size) related with geography, végétation and climate (temperature); this data will be generated during members meetings and data links provided;

This page constitutes a forum place where you can propose, comment and ask for all topics about carnivores: Feel free to use at your convenience

You can also contact directly:
Dr. Ogeto Mwebi,
Head Osteology section, National Museums of Kenya

Dr. Jean-Philip Brugal,
Research Director, CNRS

Atlas of Anatomy/Osteology of Carnivores (Africa, Europe)- -carnivore

The French embassy at Nairobi have supported a joint French-kenyan project (2007-2008), {project still in ‘action’}, to develop a data base on African mammals (carnivore, herbivores, primates, etc.) from the rich collection of NMK, Osteology Dpt. (one of the richest on mammals in Africa). The database concerns morphometry and photography of all anatomical elements of many species. The PhotoBase presented here concerned only carnivores.
The photos round up African carnivores (NMK) and we also add European carnivores from French (MMSH, Aix-en-Provence) and Portuguese (CIPA) collections.

© for African photos : J.P.Brugal & O.Mwebi
© for European photos: J.P.Brugal

The species are:

Felidae Hyaenidae Canidae Mustelidae Ursidae
Panthera leo Crocuta crocuta Lycaon pictus Mellivora capensis Ursus arctos
Panthera pardus Hyaena hyaena Canis mesomelas Gulo gulo
Acinnoyx jubatus Canis lupus Meles meles
Lynx caracal Vulpes vulpes Lutra lutra
Lynx lynx
Felis silvestris

Several specimens are available according to the species considered (17 species and 26 specimens). And details (#, sex, age, side, location)

Carnivore List for gallery

Downloads -carnivore

We plan here to put all Scientific papers and reports, concerning African carnivores that will be sent to us in pdf file.

News -carnivore

 COnferences and workshop


Co-ordinated by Drs. Jean-Philip Brugal of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France and Ogeto Mwebi of the National Museums of Kenya, a session on large carnivores was organized at the Eastern African Quaternary Research Association (EAQUA) conference (Eastern African Quaternary Climate Change and Variability: a View from the Highlands) 23rd – 27th July 2013 in Nanyuki Kenya. Six members attended this conference and it is during this conference that the 2014 conference and workshop were planned.


24th-25th June 2014 : An international conference was organized on “The African Carnivores: impacts on ecosystems and human interactions”, held at National Museum at Nairobi, Louis Leakey Auditorium. Funded by INQUA and with other supports (see Partners).

Programme and Abstract

Conference Report

Conference Participant List

INQUA quaternary Perspectives Newsletter 21_1 (2014)

26th-27th June 2014 : a two day regional seminar, using the competence existing (Univ.of Nairobi, Nat.Museum, foreign contributors) as well as the bone collections at the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi (presently almost 50 bone assemblages from spotted and striped dens are available) to teach techniques in the field of Taphonomy, conservation and evolutionary studies: bone modifications and tooth marks, skeletal identification, hair analysis, etc.; this was devoted especially to ECR and DCR people.


3-6th, August 2015 International Session on the topic: “The Preys of Carnivores: Modern and Fossil evidence”, held during the 5th East African Association for Palaeoanthropology and Palaeontology (EAAPP) Conference, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:
The East African Association for Palaeoanthropology and Palaeontology (EAAPP) organize regularly conferences< with the aim to bring East African and foreign researchers, scientists, and museum administrators together in a forum in order to exchange scientific information and discuss current research, museum ethics, policy, and practice.
Sessions are dedicated to research papers addressing issues in paleoanthropology, archaeology, paleontology, and paleoenvironments. In addition, other sessions are designed to address issues regarding Carnivore, policies affecting field and laboratory research, collections management, the Pan-African vision and other technical issues. Lastly, special session provides a forum for students and junior researchers to discuss issues regarding training, research opportunities, and other questions with regard to their career advancement. This will enable the students to directly interact with senior researchers and foreign researchers thus providing a rare opportunity to learn and forge collaborations.


INQUA quaternary Perspectives Newsletter 22_2 (2015)


14-15th Dec, 2015 a two day regional seminar, using the competence existing as well as the bone collections at the NMK, Osteology, Nairobi, to teach techniques in the field of Taphonomy, conservation and evolutionary studies: bone modifications and tooth marks, skeletal identification, hair analysis, etc.; devoted especially to ECR and DCR people.

In Progress:

– Scientific list of people involved in the African carnivore study (questionnaire in progress)

– send us your bibliography (pdf) regarding Carnivore, predators and preys…in Ecology or Paleoecology, Taphonomy, human-carnivore conflicts, Conservation, etc. Papers would be put on new page of the web site

– Osteological Database (photographs) on Carnivores, from the rich collections of NMK, Osteology Dpt. (see Gallery)

Specific objectives -carnivore

Create a network of carnivores researchers working and/or based in Africa responsible for evaluating and providing framework concerning carnivores’ ecology (with implication on conservation) that add value to land use activities while preserving local livelihoods. Booklet and public article could be disseminated toward university, school, and museum trying to get a wide audience near local human community.

Such network concerns both modern and fossil carnivores, starting on African continent but possibly enlarge to other continents for comparative purposes

Integrate the normally disparate paleontological, zooarchaeological, modern ecological and socio-economic/cultural studies of carnivores in order to develop a better understanding of the ecosystem dynamics and human interactions that affect carnivores over time and space; Criteria as 1) taxonomic diversity, 2) biological structure (sex, age) & morphometry, 3) skeletal representation, 4) tooth marks, 5) related environmental condition (living species, geotopography)…are some example of variables which have to be integrated site by site (sites= dens, resting-place, kill-sites, scavenging sites, etc.). A common methodology need to be discussed and largely disseminated, associated with detailed analytical procedures (ex. tooth marks and metrics on them) in order to made a DataBase – with possibility for scientist of other continents (Europe, America) to participate to such issue.

Organise regular regional and in-country workshops and training seminars to explain taxonomical and taphonomical procedures, importance to protect carnivore guild, and role and effects of carnivore on ecosystems (educative goals), including for professional their participation in international conferences focusing on carnivore research and conservation with their prey dynamics.

Develop a common methodologies and create databases: in anatomy (photos – see Gallery : will be freely available to interested users (online data)) and biometry, on bone assemblages modified by carnivores (data on biodiversity, biological structure, marks and skeletal representation, etc.) with implication on range and type of predatory actions; Document the influence of modern pastoralists on carnivore behaviour, their prey dynamics and their response to the changing conditions

Document the influence of modern pastoralists on carnivore behavior; their prey dynamics and their responses to the changing conditions.

About us -carnivore

The main goal is to improve knowledge on African carnivores and develop all scientific studies in to an integrative approach of the ‘Ecology of Predation’, from fossil to modern record, that is to say during the Quaternary time (the last 2.6 Million years).

Our aim is to bring together young and senior researchers involved in different fields of carnivore studies to share existing data and to improve skills and results. It will concern biology, ethology, ecology, genetics, conservation research, paleontology, morphofunction, zooarcheology, taphonomy, linked with detailed information from various types of African ecosystems.

While there are many research projects in Africa focusing on large carnivores, there exists no forum where researchers can share their success and failures. It was against this background in 2012 (with funding from a French organization IRD, see partners) that we initiated formation of a researchers’ network consisting of all specialists working or who often work in Africa in the fields related to large carnivores.

Large carnivores have interacted with humans since pre-historic times. For example, Pleistocene spotted hyenas bone assemblages of Europe and other countries around the world (ex. Felids in South America, and in Africa), are found intermingled with those of Paleolithic humans. This, interaction is thought to have influenced and continues to influence the evolutionary behavior of both humans and the large carnivores. Thus carnivores have been of great interest to archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, social scientists and conservation biologists/ecologists as well as the local communities they interact with. People’s relationship with large carnivores is complex and often conflicting; on the one hand, they are admired and awe inspiring animals while on the other (due to their negative impacts on people and their livelihoods) they are highly detested. They are often targeted for elimination by wildlife managers when they are thought to have a negative impact on a species of high conservation priority such as the rhinoceros or bongo and other ungulates even if the impact is unsubstantiated. As a result, these fascinating animals are among the most endangered of mammals and conservation efforts to expand their numbers require concerted efforts that need to accommodate the divergent perceptions of these important ecological agents. Studies on past (archeological) and modern (historical) carnivore bone modifications and accumulations play a key role in understanding human evolution and their associated paleoenvironmental dynamics. Additionally carnivore bone accumulations inform us about their herbivore prey resources and the associated prevailing environmental conditions at their accumulation sites during their period of deposition.

To understand large carnivores’ evolutionary and social behavior and their ultimate conservation, a combination of research approaches is therefore required. For example carnivore eco-ethological studies can inform evolutionary studies that may put observed carnivore traits into perspective. Similarly, understanding site taphonomic processes are important in the interpretation of paleontological remains and bone assemblages and hence provide greater understanding of paleoecology and faunal dynamics during the Quaternary period. While the role of carnivores in helping understand human and faunal evolution has long been recognized, there exists no forum (especially in Africa) where researchers involved in carnivore research can come together to exchange ideas and focus upon common area of interest.

We therefore, here propose to strengthen our carnivores’ researchers’ project, bringing together researchers from various fields of specialization, aimed at creating a body of studies and forum for exchange of ideas necessary for the (i) understanding human-carnivore interactions (with modern ‘proxies’ transferred to fossils) and (ii) interpreting prey-predator dynamics for sustainable carnivore conservation. Focusing on carnivore alone cannot be done in isolation, but their prey base and habitat requirements need also to be studied. Research approaches to understanding carnivore evolution and their interactions with prey and humans have been improving over time (e.g. through the use of isotopes to reconstruct diet); the results of such investigations need to be shared and their merits and limitations discussed.

Similarly, conservation approaches of large carnivores are diverse with various goals that sometimes lead to formulation of conflicting carnivore management strategies. This is understandable given that each research project has to meet certain set objectives – whether they are known to be in conflict with other conservation research strategies or not. However, this is not consistent with sustainable carnivore conservation because some strategies recommend total carnivore elimination. Hence, sustainable carnivore conservation requires integrated multidisciplinary approaches that balance the various interest groups’ conservation objectives.

Therefore, this project will be used as a platform to integrate modern, paleontological and zooarchaeological approaches to understand human-carnivore interactions over time and space (starting from African examples/site with future enlargement and integration with other data from other continents) and develop approaches to sustainable recent carnivore conservation as well as nurture skills of upcoming researchers through the senior researchers who will be involved.

This project focused on Africa with yield large area of wildlife conservation (park, reserve) and a rich carnivore guild, which can also be compared to ancient ecosystem in Eurasia (Pleistocene); indeed, in the Pleistocene record of Europe and Asia, species as lions, panthers, hyenas, large canids were present associated to a diversified ungulates community (from small to very large). Then Affric faunal communities have in some extend some similarity with other continents during Quaternary times. Our work can interest many scientists working in different places in the world (with topics human-animal-environment interactions, prey-predator dynamics, etc.)

ACIN -carnivore

Carnivores are major components of ecosystems that regulate herbivore populations and beyond to ensure ecological balance. In Africa, the large carnivores of the three families: Felidae (lion, leopard, and cheetah), Hyenidae (spotted, striped and brown hyenas) and Canidae (wild dogs) are facing great conservation challenges resulting from negative impacts of their interactions with people. Similarly, the medium- to small-sized carnivores are to some degree facing the same challenges. Larger predators also play important role in the reconstruction of the Past in terms of site formation, bone accumulation and modification and in the interpretation of intra- and inter-specific competitions, especially with prehistoric human groups
The aim of the program will be to intensify the synergies between eco-ethology, zooarchaeology, paleontology and paleoecology to aid in understanding and resolving issues surrounding human-carnivore interactions over time and space, and better understand the ecology of predators and their role and effects both in the past, fossil communities, and in the modern time within specific ecosystems