genus of mammals

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Temporal range: Late Miocene - Recent
Honey Badger Mellivora capensis Jerusalem Al Quds by Prof Dr Norman Ali Khalaf 2013.jpg
Honey badger (Mellivora capensis)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Mellivorinae
Gray, 1865[1]
Genus: Mellivora
Storr, 1780
Type species
Viverra ratel[2]
Sparrman, 1777

Mellivora is a genus of mustelids that contains the honey badger or ratel (Mellivora capensis). It is also the sole living representative of the subfamily Mellivorinae. Additionally, two extinct species are known. The honey badger is native to much of Africa and South Asia, while fossil relatives occurred in those areas and Southern Europe.


The genus Mellivora probably evolved from the more primitive Promellivora punjabiensis of India (which itself was formerly classified as M. punjabiensis). The two genera are grouped together in the tribe Eomellivorini together with the extinct giant mustelids Eomellivora and Ekorus.[3]

Mandible of M. benfieldi

Mellivora benfieldi is considered a likely ancestor of the living honey badger.[4]


  1. ^ Gray, J. E. (1865). "Revision of the genera and species of Mustelidae contained in the British Museum". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: 100–154.
  2. ^ Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ Valenciano, A.; Govender, R. (July 2020). "New fossils of Mellivora benfieldi (Mammalia, Carnivora, Mustelidae) from Langebaanweg, 'E' Quarry (South Africa, Early Pliocene) : re-evaluation of the African Neogene Mellivorines". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 40 (4): e1817754. doi:10.1080/02724634.2020.1817754. S2CID 227249176.
  4. ^ Haile-Selassie, Yohannes (2009). Ardipithecus Kadabba: Late Miocene Evidence from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. University of California Press. pp. 243–244. ISBN 9780520254404.
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