Palaeo Vertebrata - Articles

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A new Desmodillus (Gerbillinae, Rodentia) species from the early Pliocene site of Langebaanweg (South-western Cape, South Africa)
Christiane Denys and Thalassa Matthews
Keywords: Lower Pliocene; Muridae; Rodentia; RSA

doi: 10.18563/pv.41.1.e1

    Situated in the Cape region of the Republic of South Africa (RSA), the paleontological site of Langebaanweg is dated to 5.1 Myr and is famous for having yielded an abundant vertebrate assemblage, including numerous rodent species from the Mio-Pliocene transition. Based on molar morphology and skull anatomy, the single Gerbillinae taxon identified at Langebaanweg and described in this paper is allocated to Desmodillus, which is a modern monotypic South African endemic genus. It is significant in being the oldest representative of the genus in Africa. We describe here a new species of this genus which is larger than the modern D. auricularis, but nevertheless retains some of its main characteristics, namely the shape of the maxilla and mandible, the presence of poorly fused alternating cusps, and no longitudinal crest. This taxon differs from modern South African Gerbilliscus representatives in some mandibular and maxillary characters, in the m1 prelobe cusp, and in having less fused cusps. Two fossil Gerbillinae discovered in the Upper Miocene of Africa and Asia, Abudhabia and Protatera, have been compared with the new species. We discuss their relationships with modern and Plio-pleistocene Gerbillinae and conclude that Abudhabia could be the sister taxon of Desmodillus and that around 6-5 Myr a vicariance event allowed Gerbillinae to diversify into modern Desmodillus in South Africa, and Gerbilliscus in East Africa. The murine/gerbilline ratio, which is a good indicator of rainfall, supports other proxies which suggest that at 5.1 Myr the climate in the Langebaanweg region was more humid than today. 

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in press

S.I. Data
Rongeurs du Miocène supérieur de Chorora, Ethiopie: Murinae, Dendromurinae et conclusions.
Denis Geraads
Keywords: Ethiopia; Late Miocene; Muridae; Rodentia

    The subfamilies Murinae and "Dendromurinae" both include 4 species at Chorora. Among the former, while Preacomys nov. gen. seems to be a forerunner of Acomys, the affinities of the remaining, poorly known taxa, are more difficult to evaluate. The bulk of the fauna, remarkably, consists of Dendromurines. Their similarities with those of Ngorora tends to pull the site back in time, but the large size and diversity of Murines fit better an age more recent than the very beginning of the Late Miocene.


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Published in Vol. 30, Fasc. 1-2 (2001)

Les nouvelles faunes de rongeurs proches de la limite mio-pliocène en Roussillon. Implications biostratigraphiques et biogéographiques
Jean-Pierre Aguilar, Jacques Michaux, Bernadette Bachelet, Marc Calvet and Jean-Pierre Faillat
Keywords: Arvicolidae; Cricetidae; Gliridae; Miocene; Muridae; Pliocene; Rodents; Southern France

    Three new fossiliferous localities, two of karstic origin, Castelnou 3 and Font Estramar, respectively Late Upper Miocene and Lower Pliocene, and one of lacustrine origin, Thuir, Lower Pliocene, add data about the transition between Miocene and Pliocene faunas of rodents in southern France. An unexpected association of taxa was present in the late Upper Miocene, including between others, Myocricetodon, Hispanomys, Ruscinomys, Cricetus barrierei, Promimomys and a new species of Stephanomys, S. dubari nov. sp. Myocricetodon is still known in the Lower Pliocene. It is shown that the large field-mice known since the Late Upper Miocene belong to two different lineages, on one side, A. jeanteti, on the other side, A. gudrunae followed by A. gorafensis. Biochronological and biogeographical implications are discussed. 

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Published in Vol. 20, Fasc. 4 (1991)

A new rodent from Quaternary deposits of the Canary Islands and its relationships with Neogène and recent murids of Europe and Africa.
Rainer Hutterer, Nieves Lopez-Martinez and Jacques Michaux
Keywords: Canary Islands; Holocene; Island evolution; Muridae; Phylogeny; Rodents; Spain

    A peculiar new rodent, Malpaisomys insularis nov. gen., nov. sp., is described from subfossil deposits of the eastern Canary Islands. The species shows some highly specialized skull features although its molars exhibit a mixture of primitive and derived characters among which a partial stephanodonty is most notable. A comparison of the new rodent with several Miocene to Holocene Muridae shows that Malpaisomys possibly shares a common ancestor with Acomys and Uranomys

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Published in Vol. 18, Fasc. 4 (1988)

Les rongeurs du site Pliocène à Hominidés de Hadar (Ethiope)
Maurice Sabatier
Keywords: Ethiopia; hominids; Muridae; Pliocene

    The intensive exploration of the Pliocene Hadar Formation, rich in hominid remains, led us to the discovery of several micromammals levels. ln some of them, rodents are very abundant. The stratigraphic repartition of these levels do not cover the whole fossiliferous series of the formation but takes place only in the sedimentary members from Sidi Hakoma and Denen-Dora (rancing from 3.1 - 3.2 MY to 2.8 - 2.9 MY, according to the recent geochronological data). During this gap of time, the species do not show morphological changes, what allowed us to gather, in the same taxa, forms of slighty different ages.
    Two striking facts, giving a lot of indications, characterize these small rodents'faunas. First, we notice the domination of the Muridae, as well on a qualitative way (number of species) as on a quantitative one (number of individuals). Then, it appears that, until now, two genera of these murids were known only in the south-western asiatic regions. So, we can suppose continuous biotops between Africa and Indian Subcontinent before 3 MY. In this hypothesis, the hominids had already the possibility to leave their african « cradle ››. Finally, almost all studied genera are still represented at the present time. This fact, previously observed in Laetolil, Omo, Olduvai contributes to remove hope of establishing a biochronological scale based on rodents, in tropical zone. Nethertheless, that allows to try a reconstruction of the palaeoenvironnement, by using the principle of actualism.

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Published in Vol. 12, Fasc. 1 (1982)

Découverte d'un gisement de micromammifères d'âge Pliocène dans le bassin de Constantine (Algérie), présence d'un muridé nouveau : Paraethomys Athmeniae n.sp.
Brigitte Coiffait and Philippe-Emmanuel Coiffait
Keywords: Algeria; Constantine; Micromammals; Muridae; Pliocene

    The study of that locality allowed the description of a new Muridae : Paraethomys athmeniae n. sp. It reveals the existence of new rodent for Algeria : first, a Sciuridae, Atlantoxerus cf. rhodius, and second, a Gliridae, Eliomys truci. So, that work shows the presence of the genus Eliomys in North Africa before the middle of Pleistocene. Lastly, Paraethomys cf. anomalus gives an exact datation of that bed. 

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Published in Vol. 11, Fasc. 1 (1981)

Functional aspects of the evolution of rodent molars
Percy M. Butler
Keywords: Chewing; Muridae; Rodents; Wear facets

    The wear facets of primitive rodents can be homologized with those of primitive primates and ungulates. As in primates, the jaw movement was ectental, with an increased anterior component in the lingual phase (phase ll). The buccal phase (phase I) in rodents approaches the horizontal and it tends to be reduced in importance in comparison with the lingual phase. ln more advanced rodents the efficiency of grinding is increased by the development of additional cutting edges of enamel (e.g. enlargement of hypocone, development of mesoloph and lingual sinus). The buccal phase movement becomes lined up with the lingual phase movement to form a single oblique chewing stroke,resulting in planation of the crown. As the stroke becomes more longitudinal (propalinal) the enamel edges become more transverse. In Muridae propalinal chewing evolved before the loss of cusps, facets were reorientated and additional cusps developed. 

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Published in Vol. 9, Ext (1980)