American Cheetah Fossil

Terrestrial Fossil
Scientific Name: Miracinonyx trumani

The American cheetah was closely related to the modern cougar, but had many adaptations for swift running, similar to the African cheetah. This particular skull was mistakenly identified as belonging to a cougar when it was first discovered, highlighting the similarities between these two species. It is theorized that the American cheetah was once the main predator of the pronghorn antelope, which would explain why the modern pronghorn can run at speeds much greater than what would be needed to escape its modern predators. This skull is approximately 11,000 years old and was found in Rampart Cave, along with the remains of many other Ice Age animals.

3D American cheetah—Miracinonyx trumani
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

A 3D model. This model shows a fossil of the upper jaw of a cheetah with teeth. The model can be rotated and tilted using a computer interface.

Species: Miracinonyx trumani

Pleistocene subfossil collected from a cave in the Grand Canyon during a 1936-1937 Civilian Conservation Corps expedition.

This fossil is in the collections at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Learn about paleontology in the National Park Service:

Learn more about Grand Canyon National Park’s Centennial:

Part of a series of articles titled Grand Canyon Collections—Paleontology.

Previous: Brachiopod Fossil

Next: Trilobite

Grand Canyon National Park

Last updated: May 3, 2021