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Pachycrocuta was a genus of prehistoric hyenas. The largest and most well-researched species was the giant hyaena Pachycrocuta brevirostris, which stood about 100 cm (39 in) at the shoulder and may have weighed more than 113 kg (250 lb) — the size of a small lioness. This would make it the largest hyena to have ever lived. It lived between the Middle Pliocene and the Middle Pleistocene, about 3 million to 500,000 years ago. Fossil remains have been found in many localities of Eurasia and southern and eastern Africa. Most material consists of fragmented remains, usually of the skull, but there has been a cache of very comprehensive bone material unearthed at the famous Zhoukoudian locallity which probably represents the remains of animals which used these caves as lairs for many millennia.

It probably was a small-pack hunter of large animals (up to deer size and occasionally larger

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