Nandinia binotata (Gray 1830, 1843, formerly Viverra binotata) is a living primitive member of the Carnivora, commonly called the African palm civet. It is an omnivore, eating fruits mainly. Derived from a sister to Vulvapus, Nandinia phylogenetically precedes Chriacus.
Distinct from Vulvapus, the skull of Nandinia is relatively larger and wider with a larger cranium. The upper jaw line is concave ventrally. A bulla is present surrounding the tiny ear bones. In dorsal view a median occipital bone can be seen dividing the parietals at the back of the skull.
The lumbar region of the spine is longer. The sacral region is shorter. The tail is longer.
The scapula is slightly longer than tall. Manual digit I is greatly reduced. The remaining four digits are nearly symmetrical. The manual unguals are larger. Manual ungual 1 is much deeper than its penultimate phalanx.
The pelvis is slightly shorter with a larger obturator foramen. The femur is convex dorsally. The calcaneal heel is reduced. The distal tarsals are reduced. The pedal digits are shorter due to shorter penultimate phalanges.
Like primates, civets use their ‘hands’ to grab prey or fruit before biting it. Unlike other civets, the omnivore, Nandinia, is active for a few hours after dusk and before sunrise. It relies on stealth rather than speed to capture prey. It drops out of trees in play. It also descends tree trunks like a squirrel, head first. Inverted stealth hunting seems to be the behavior that ultimately led to bats.