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carnivorous mammal, Cryptoprocta ferox, of Madagascar. The island's largest carnivore, the fossa resembles a pumapuma
or cougar
, New World member of the cat family, Puma concolor. Also known as mountain lion, catamount, panther, and painter, it ranges from S British Columbia to the southern tip of South America. The puma is slenderly built, with a lionlike face.
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 in appearance and has semiretractable claws, but it is most closely related to Madagascar's other native carnivores and to the mongoosemongoose,
name for a large number of small, carnivorous, terrestrial Old World mammals of the civet family. They are found in S Asia and in Africa, with one species extending into S Spain.
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 and civetcivet
or civet cat,
any of a large group of mostly nocturnal mammals of the Old World family Viverridae (civet family), which also includes the mongoose. Civets are not true cats, but the civet family is related to the cat family (Felidae).
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. Its slender body may be more than 5 ft (1.5 m) long including the tail, which makes up about half of the total length, and the largest males may weigh as much as 26 lb (12 kg). The female is somewhat smaller. The coat is generally reddish brown above and cream below.

The fossa is found in both humid and dry forests and is an agile climber. A generally solitary animal, it preys on lemurs, wild pigs, and other mammals as well as fish and birds; it hunts by ambush. During mating season several males compete for a female, who rests high in a tree; the tree may be used for mating, and then used as a mating ground by another female when the first leaves. There are two to four young in a litter. The young are blind and helpless when born, and remain the mother for about a year and a half. Largely because of habitat destruction, the fossa is endangered.

The fossa is classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Eupleridae.


(foss -ă) (plural: fossae) a long narrow shallow depression. The word is used in the approved name of such a surface feature on a planet or satellite.



(Cryptoprocta ferox), a predatory mammal of the family Viverridae. The body measures as much as 76 cm in length and as much as 37 cm in height; the tail measures approximately 65 cm in length. The fossa, the largest predator of the island of Madagascar, has a massive body with relatively long, thick extremities and semiretractile claws. It somewhat resembles a cat, but the head is longer. The fur is short, smooth, and reddish brown.

The fossa inhabits forests and feeds on birds and small mammals. It is terrestrial but may climb trees when chasing lemurs. It is active at night. The animal attacks domestic fowl and young domestic swine.


Mammals of the World, vol. 2. Baltimore, Md., 1964.


A pit or depression.
(vertebrate zoology)
Cryptoprocta ferox. A Madagascan carnivore related to the civets.
References in periodicals archive ?
The clinical challenge for the physician who encounters unilateral MEE is to identify the small percentage of patients with persistent MEE secondary to eustachian tube invasion or compression by occult lesions of the middle cranial fossa, petrous apex, or infratemporal fossa.
Imaging revealed the presence of a Radkowski stage IIIb and Fisch stage IVb JNA that extended into the nasal cavities, the paranasal sinuses, cavernous sinuses, left posterior orbit, and left middle cranial fossa (figure 2, A).
On computed tomography (CT) with intravenous contrast, a large, soft-tissue nasopharyngeal mass with extension into and erosion of the sphenoid sinus walls, pterygoid plates, and sella turcica and protrusion into the middle cranial fossa was found (figures 1 and 2).
Imagawa et al reported an enchondroma in the left middle cranial fossa of a patient with generalized enchondromatosis.
29,31) The type of surgical procedure for internal auditory canal osteoma has varied; both middle cranial fossa and suboccipital approaches have been used, depending on the size and location of the lesion.
The location of an MPNST in the infratemporal fossa and its extension into the middle cranial fossa is very uncommon, as fewer than 50 cases of a maxillomandibular site have been reported in the literature.
It is rare in the smaller joints and especially rare in the head and neck; several cases of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) involvement have been reported, (1-5) some with invasion into the middle cranial fossa.
The middle cranial fossa approach (alone or in combination with a transmastoid approach), provides wide exposure of the floor of the middle cranial fossa so that multiple defects, if present, can be identified and repaired.
MRI obtained 2 days later showed a larger collection of gas in the mastoid and intense dural enhancement in the floor of the middle cranial fossa and the posterior fossa (figure 3).
We conducted a study to establish standardized measurements of the common anatomic landmarks used during surgery via the middle cranial fossa approach.