The American cheetah existed throughout the Pleistocene period. It is comprised of two feline species: the Miracinonyx inexpectatus and the M. trumani. Study of fossil bones conclude that the latter was more similar to a true cheetah, while the inexpectus was intermediate in form between cougars and the modern cheetah.
The Miracinonyx was endemic to North America with fossils discovered in Texas, California, Wyoming, Nebraska, Maryland and West Virginia among others. Its prehistoric habitat included coastal savannas, forested and rocky slopes, high mountain meadows and the Appalachian mountain stream valley. The discovery of the American cheetah's fossil in Arizona suggests that this feline species also lived in the steep slopes of the Grand Canyon.