American Cheetah

Extinct Animal Species Native to the US

Background Information

American Cheetah is an extinct genus of large cats. It was native to North America during the Pleiotocene era. The American cheetah held at least two species in its genus that are similar to modern cheetahs. American Cheetah was possibly the most similar to modern cheetahs. It lived on prairies and most likely hunted animals like pronghorn. Originally, American Cheetahs were thought to be an early cougar, but was reclassified in the 1970’s as a close relative of the cheetah. Its estimated body weight is 156 pounds, head and body Length is 5.6 ft, tail length is 3 ft, and height at shoulder is 33 in.

Causes of Extinction?

The American cheetah is thought to have become extinct around 10,000 years ago. It's not completely known why the American Cheetah went extinct. They likely died off with a large number of other North American animals at the end of the last ice age. Some ideas as to the cause of the mass extinction are the abrupt climate change, human pressure, or a possible meteoric or comet impact or pandemic.


  • Scientific Name: Miracinonyx inexpectatus
  • Family Name: Felidae
  • Abnormalities in fossil bones may show evidence of arthritis, cancer, nutritional stress, fractures and more.
  • Genetic studies reveal that close relatives of the extinct American cheetah are the mountain lion and the jaguarundi.