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Neolicaphrium recens Frenguelli,1921,the only surviving proterotheriidae (Litopterna, Mammalia) into the south american Pleistocene.
Mariano Bond, Daniel Perea, Martin Ubilla and Adan Tauber
Keywords: Litopterna; Neolicaphrium recens; Pleistocene; Proterotheriidae; South America
 
  Abstract

    The litoptem Proterotheriidae are extinct endemic South American ungulates frequently used as an example of evolutionary convergence with the horses. They were considered to be exclusively Tertiary representatives with the youngest record being in the late Pliocene, before the appearence of the equids and cervids during the Great American Interchange. Two undoubted Pleistocene records in Argentina and the specimen here described from Uruguay, confirm the persistence of the proterotherids into that period. In the Quaternary, these ungulates are found outside the typical pampean region and probably were confined to a few northern and warmer more forested relictual microhabitats.

      


  Article infos

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

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Palaeotis weigelti restudied : a small middle Eocene Ostrich (Aves : Struthioniformes)
Peter Houde and Hartmut Haubold
Keywords: Aves; Central Europe; Middle Eocene; Palaeotis; Struthioniformes
 
  Abstract

    Palaeotis weigelti, from the Middle Eocene of central Europe, is a flightless, paleognathous bird. It appears to be a member of the ostrich lineage on the basis of trivial derived characters. It is a very primitive ratite, however, and does not possess any of the highly specialized cursorial adaptations that characterize the modern steppe -and savanna- dwelling ostriches. 


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 17, Fasc. 2 (1987)

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Rodent paleocommunities from the Oligocene of Ulantatal (Inner Mongolia, China)
Helder Gomes Rodrigues, Laurent Marivaux and Monique Vianey-Liaud
Keywords: late Paleogene; Mammalia; Mongolian Plateau; Rodentia; systematics

doi: 10.18563/pv.38.1.e3
 
  Abstract

    The Oligocene deposits of the Ulantatal area in Inner Mongolia (China) contain among the richest mammalian faunas from Asia. To date, only some parts of the rodent faunas have been described. Here, we propose to review the rodent faunal lists for each site, including the description of a few new rodent specimens. We describe three additional rodent species: the Cylindrodontidae Anomoemys lohiculus, the Eomyidae Asianeomys sp., and the Dipodidae Litodonomys huangheensis. This study allows us to constrain the stratigraphic range of Anomoemys lohiculus, which ranged from the late Early Oligocene to the early Late Oligocene in this area. Asianeomys sp. and Litodonomys huangheensis are dated from the latest Oligocene. These Oligocene deposits consist now of more than 70 species of mammals if we include the fauna from Kekeamu. This latter corresponds to the basal part of the Ulantatal Formation and could be dated biochronologically from the earliest Oligocene. When compared to the faunas from the Valley of Lakes in Central Mongolia, the Ulantatal faunas present a great majority of rodents, and this difference can be partly explained by sampling and description biases regarding macro-mammals. This study also shows that variations existed between Inner and Central Mongolia, especially regarding the composition of the rodent paleocommunities. However, the assessment of their evolutionary history in this part of Asia with respect to the important climate and environment changes, require further precisions and more material than current data allow. 


  Article infos

Published in Vol.38-1 (2014)

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Dilambodont Molars :a functional interpretation of their evolution
Percy M. Butler
Keywords: Convergent evolution; Dilambdodont; Molar function; Molar teeth
 
  Abstract

    In dilambdodont molars the primitive crest between paracone and metacone (centrocrista) is represented by a pair of crests that join the mesostyle (postparacrista, premetacrista). The cutting action of these crests against the crests of the hypoconid is described. Dilambdodonty is a derived adaptation for greater cutting efficiency. It has evolved several times and in more than one way. 


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 25, Fasc. 2-4 (1996)

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Comparative bone histology of rhabdodontid dinosaurs
Edina Prondvai
Keywords: bone histology-based ontogeny; Mochlodon; Rhabdodon; skeletal maturation; Zalmoxes

doi: 10.18563/pv.38.2.e1
 
  Abstract

    A comparative bone histological study of the three known genera of the endemic European ornithopod dinosaur family, Rhabdodontidae, is presented here in an ontogenetic context. Investigated specimens were assigned to different ontogenetic stages based exclusively on the histological indicators of osteologic maturation during diametrical bone growth; an entirely size-independent method as opposed to most previous studies. Qualitative comparison of bone histology of corresponding ontogenetic stages and elements among the three valid rhabdodontid genera, Mochlodon, Zalmoxes, and Rhabdodon, revealed some consistent patterns. Genus specific histological differences within Rhabdodontidae are most expressed between Rhabdodon and the Mochlodon-Zalmoxes clade. These indicate a prolonged phase of fast growth and a less constrained cyclicity in the growth dynamics of Rhabdodon, as opposed to the slower and more regulated growth strategy reflected in the bones of Mochlodon and Zalmoxes. These genus specific differences are consistent with the phylogenetic interrelation of the genera and are most probably related to the pronounced differences in body size. However, when compared to other ornithopods, most detected histological features in rhabdodontids do not seem to reliably reflect either phylogenetic relations or body size. A notable common feature of all rhabdodontid genera irrespective of body size is the ontogenetically early onset of cyclical growth and secondary remodelling; a pattern that more resembles the condition found in derived ornithopods than that described in more basal taxa which are closer relatives of rhabdodontids. The recognition of taxon-specific histological patterns as well as patterns indicative of ecological and thereby functional traits clearly requires more accurate, preferably quantitative evaluations.   


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Published in Vol.38-2 (2014)

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Skeleton of early Eocene Homogalax and the origin of Perissodactyla
Kenneth D. Rose
Keywords: Eocene; Homogalax; Perissodactyla; Skeletal Anatomy
 
  Abstract

    The first good skeletal remains of Homogalax protapirinus from the Wasatchian of the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, indicate that this primitive tapiromorph was more plesiomorphic in many features than primitive equoids including Hyracotherium. Compared to Hyracotherium, Homogalax more closely resembles Phenacodonta (the closest outgroup of Perissodactyla for which postcrania are known) in various details of articular surfaces, muscle attachments, and proportions of the humerus, manus, and pes.Among known taxa, Homogalax most nearly approximates the plesiomorphic postcranial skeletal anatomy of Perissodactyla. 


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Published in Vol. 25, Fasc. 2-4 (1996)

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A survey of Cretaceous tribosphenic mammals from middle Asia (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan), of their geological setting, age and faunal environment
Lev A. Nessov, Denise Sigogneau-Russell and Donald E. Russell
Keywords: Cretaceous; Environment; Middle Asia; Sharks; Tribosphenic mammals
 
  Abstract

    This paper is an English concentrate of various Russian publications by the senior author presenting the mammaIian taxa from the Cretaceous (Albian through Santonian) of the region termed Middle Asia by Soviet geographers. The diagnoses are the unmodified, literal translation of the original version, but are followed with short complementary remarks; most of the species are illuslrated anew with SEM photographs, others are by normal photography. The fossiliferous formations are cited and arguments for their dating are given. Finally, the main vertebrate groups accompanying mammaIs are listed and the environment and climate at the time of deposition are suggested. In conclusion, an hypothesis on the origin and high diversity of tribosphenic mammals on the Cretaceous coastal plains of southwest Asia is proposed. In appendix the taxon Khuduklestes bohlini novo gen. novo sp. is formally defined. 


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Published in Vol. 23, Fasc. 1-4 (1994)

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Nouvelles données sur les Ichnites de dinosaures d'El Bayadh (Crétacé Inférieur, Algérie)
Mostefa Bessedik, Cheikh Mammeri, Lahcene Belkebir, Mahammed Mahboubi, Mohamed Adaci, Hakim Hebib, Mustapha Bensalah, Bouhameur Mansour and Mohammed E. H. Mansouri
Keywords: Algeria; Brezina; El Bayadh; Ichnites; Lower Cretaceous; Sauropoids; Theropoids

doi: 10.18563/pv.36.1-4.7-35
 
  Abstract

    Evidence of 350 Lower Cretaceous Dinosaur footprints is pointed out in El Bayadh area. Their preliminary study allow to distinguish four trackway assemblages which reveal vertebrate bipedal presence forms of tri-and tetradactylous Dinosauroïds (Assemblages 1-3) and quadrupidal Sauropoïd (Assemblage 4).

    The analysis of their footprint biometric features will attribute the quadrupidal Sauropoïd form to Brontopodus ichnogenus which is weIl known in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. In retum and despite their age, the dinosauroïd forms were approached, temporarily, to Grallator and Eubrontes types.

    The occurrence of the dinosaur traces (Theropoïd and Sauropoïd) constitutes, in the Lower Cretaceous, an important first step of the knowlege of the marshy Reptilian fauna which takes over, from the begining of the Secondary Era, a wide paleogeographie area on the Southem Tethyan margin. 


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 36, Fasc. 1-4 (2008)

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The new Algerian locality of Bir el Ater 3: validity of Libycosaurus algeriensis (Mammalia, Hippopotamoidea) and the age of the Nementcha Formation
Fabrice Lihoreau, Lionel Hautier and Mahammed Mahboubi
Keywords: Dispersal event; Miocene; North Africa; Tetralophodon

doi: 10.18563/pv.39.2.e1
 
  Abstract

    The description of original material of anthracothere and proboscidean in the new locality of Bir el Ater 3 from East Algeria, and a thorough review of early Libycosaurus remains of Bir el Ater 2 allows us validating L. algeriensis as the smallest and earliest species of Libycosaurus and probably the earliest migrant of the genus from Asia. The presence of a Tetralophodon in the Neogene Nementcha formation might represent the earliest occurrence of the genus in Africa. These original fossil remains allow us to discuss the age of the Neogene part of the Nementcha formation close to the Serravalian/Tortonian boundary. 


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Published in Vol.39-2 (2015)

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Macroscelidea, Insectivora and Chiroptera from the Miocene of east Africa.
Percy M. Butler
Keywords: Chiroptera; East Africa; Insectivora; Macroscelidea; Miocene; systematics
 
  Abstract

    The East African Miocene Macroscelidea, lnsectivora and Chiroptera are revised on the basis of new material. New taxa proposed are: Miorhynchocyon, .n. gen. (Macroscelididae): Míorhynchocyon meswae, n. sp.: Pronasílío ternanensis. n. gen.. n. sp. (Macroscelididae); Hiwegicyon juvenalis, n. gen. n. sp. (Macroscelididae); Parageogale, n. gen. (Tenrecidae): Prochrysochlorinae, n. subfam. (Chrysochloridae): Propottininae, n. subfam, (Pteropodidae); Chamtwaria pickfordi, n. gen., n. sp. (Vespertilionidae). Gymnurechnínus songhorensis is synonymised with G. camptolophus. The new material provides additional information on the dentition, especially of Myohyrax oswaldi. Galerix africanus. Amphechínus rusingensis, Protenrec tricuspis and Parageogale aletris. Partial skulls are described of Amphechinus rusingensis, Protenrec tricuspis, Prochrysochloris míocaenicus and Taphozous incognita. The oldest member of the Macroscelidinae (Pronasilio) is described from Fort Ternan. Galerix africanus is closely related to G. exilis from Europe. Amphechinus rusingenesis is compared with Asiatic Oligocene Erinaceinae. The Miocene age of Crocidura is rejected. On the evidence of humeri, the following families of Chiroptera are newly reported: Pteropodidae, Nycterididae, Vespertilionidae, Molossidae. Propotto is regarded as an offshoot from the Pteropodidae, not ancestral to modern forms. Chamtwaria is a primitive vespertilionoid, provisionally placed in the Kerivoulinae. Erinaceidae probably entered Africa at the beginning of the Miocene, before 20 Ma. Faunistic differences between deposits are largely to be ascribed to differences in local environment. 


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 14, Fasc. 3 (1984)

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Origins of avian reproduction: answers and questionsfrom dinosaurs.
David J. Varricchio and Frankie D. Jackson
Keywords: Avian reproduction; clutch; dinosaurs; egg size; nests; oviducts; parental care
 
  Abstract

    The reproductive biology of living birds differs dramatically from that of other extant vertebrates. Distinctive features common to most birds include a single ovary and oviduct, production of one egg at daily or greater intervals, incubation by brooding and extensive parental care. The prevalence of male parental care is most exceptional among living amniotes. A variety of hypotheses exist to explain the origin of avian reproduction. Central to these models are proposed transitions from a condition of no care to maternal, paternal or biparental care systems. These evolutionary models incorporate a number of features potentially preservable or inferable from the fossil record (integument, skeletal adaptations for flight, egg and clutch size, nest form, hatchling developmental stage, the number and function of oviducts, and the mode of egg incubation). Increasing availability of data on dinosaur reproduction provides a means of assessing these hypotheses with fossil evidence. We compare dinosaur data to a selection of models that emphasize maternal, paternal or biparental care. Despite some congruence with dinosaur features, no single model on the evolution of avian reproduction conforms fully to the fossil record, and the ancestral parental care system of birds remains ambiguous. Further investigation into dinosaur parental care, nest structures, clutch geometry, egg-pairing, eggshell porosity, and embryo identification may eventually resolve these issues.  


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 32, Fasc. 2-4 (2003)

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Les rongeurs de l' Eocène inférieur et moyen d'Europe Occidentale; Systématique, phylogénie, biochronologie et paléobiogéographie des niveaux-repères MP 7 à  MP 14.
Gilles Escarguel
Keywords: Biochronology; Early and Middle Eocene; Gliridae; Ischyromyidae; Mammalia; MP Scale; New Genus and Species; Palaeogeography; Phylogeny; Rodents; Theridomyidae; Western Europe
 
  Abstract

    Fourteen distinct phyletical lineages which belong at least in three families: Ischyromyidae ALSTON, 1876, Gliridae THOMAS, 1896 and Theridomyidae ALSTON, 1876, have been identified after the study of more than 3600 rodent dental remains from about twenty Early and Middle Eocene european localities. A systematical and phylogenetical revision of these rodents has been achieved. Nearly all the specific and generic diagnosis are emended. Several new combinations and synonymies are proposed. Four new species and two new genera, Euromys nov. (Ailuravinae) and Hartenbergeromys nov. (Microparamyini), are named and described. Euromys nov. gen. is known by three distinctive ypresian (MP 7 to MP 10 european reference levels) chronospecies. This new lineage is thought to be the direct ancestor of Meldimys MICHAUX, 1968 and Ailuravus RUTIMEYER, 1891. A new species of the genus Plesiarctomys BRAVARD, 1850, Pl. lapicidinarum from Condé-en-Brie (MP 8-9 reference level), allows to relate the Plesiarctomys lineage to the Pseudoparamys MICHAUX, 1964 one. The taxa Sparnacomys HARTENBERGER, 1971, Pantrogna HARTENBERGER, 1971, and Corbarimys MARANDAT, 1989 are erected to genus rank; the last one is not thought to be an Ischyromyidae. A new chronospecies of Pantrogna, P. marandati nov. sp. from the locality of Prémontré (MP 10 reference level), is described. This lineage is at the origin of two others, namely Masillamys TOBIEN, 1954, including M. mattaueri (HARTENBERGER, 1975) nov. comb. (MP 10 reference level), and Hartenbergeromys nov. gen., known from MP 10 (H. hautefeuillei nov. sp.) and MP 11 (H. parvus TOBIEN, 1954) reference levels. The phylogenetical position of Hartenbergeromys nov. gen., at the origin of the european family Theridomyidae, is discussed. The systematical and phylogenetical status of two probable Paramyinae, "Paramys" woodi MICHAUX, 1964 and an unnamed genus and species, are discussed. New populations of the primitive Gliridae Eogliravus HARTENBERGER, 1971 and of the primitive Theridomyidae Protadelomys HARTENBERGER, 1968, are described and assigned to previously known species.

      


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 28, Fasc. 2-4 (1999)

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First record of dinosaur eggshells and teeth from the north-west african Maastrichtian (Morocco).
Géraldine Garcia, Rodolphe Tabuce, Henri Cappetta, Bernard Marandat, Ilhem Bentaleb, Aziza Benabdallah and Monique Vianey-Liaud
Keywords: Africa; amniotic eggshells; Maastrichtian; Morocco; theropod teeth
 
  Abstract

    We report the discovery of amniotic eggshells and theropod teeth from the Late Cretaccous  period in Morocco.The megaloolithid family represents the only known dinosaur egg remains in the north part of Africa and attests indirectly to the occurrence of sauropod dinosaurs (titanosaurids) in the Maastrichtian of Africa.

      


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Published in Vol. 32, Fasc. 2-4 (2003)

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New late Paleocene rodents (Mammalia) from Big Multi Quarry, Washakie Basin,Wyoming.
Mary R. Dawson and Christopher K. Beard
Keywords: Clarkforkian; North America; Paleocene; Rodentia
 
  Abstract

    The earliest North American rodents occur in basal Clarkforkian beds of the Fort Union Formation at Big Multi Quarry near Bitter Creek, northern Washakie Basin, Sweetwater County, Wyoming, and in closely correlative Fort Union beds formerly accessible in the Eagle Coal Mine near Bear Creek, northern Clark's Fork Basin, Carbon County, Montana. Two new species of early Clarkforkian rodents, Paramys adamus and Alagomys russelli, are described from Big Multi Quarry. Paramys adamus is represented by virtually complete upper and lower dentitions, which demonstrate that this species is one of the most primitive North American paramyids yet discovered. These specimens form the basis for a reevaluation of the content and stratigraphic range of P. atavus, which is known with certainty only from Bear Creek. Alagomys russelli is the first North American record for the enigmatic rodent family Alagomyidae, otherwise known from ?late Paleocene-early Eocene localities in Mongolia and China. Phylogenetic analysis of dental and gnathic traits suggests that Alagomyidae form the sister group of all other undoubted rodents. At least two rodent clades, alagomyids and basal paramyids, seem to have invaded North America from Asia at the beginning of Clarkforkian time, but only the paramyids persisted to undergo a significant evolutionary radiation in North America. 


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 25, Fasc. 2-4 (1996)

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Hyracodontids and rhinocerotids (Mammalia, Perissodactyla, Rhinocerotoidea) from the Paleogene of Mongolia
Demberelyin Dashzeveg
Keywords: Hyracodontidae; Mongolia; Paleogene; Perissodactyla; Rhinocerotidae
 
  Abstract

        Two families are reviewed (Hyracodontidae and Rhinocerotidae) from the Paleogene of Mongolia. The following taxa are described from the former family:  Triplopus? mergenensis sp. nov., Prohyracodon meridionale CHOW, Prohyracodon? parvus sp. nov., Forstercooperia ergiliinensis GABUNIA & DASHZEVEG, Ardynia praecox MATTHEW & GRANGER, A. mongoliensis (BELIAYEVA), Ardynia sp., Urtinotheríum sp. (or Indricotherium) and Armania asiana GABUNIA & DASHZEVEG. All of them are from the Paleogene of the eastem Gobi Desert The hyracodontid Pataecops parvus RADINSKY is described from a new locality, Menkhen-Teg (Middle Eocene), in the Valley of Lakes.
        In the second family, a new species of Ronzotherium, R. orientale sp. nov. has been recognized from the Oligocene of Ergilin Dzo and Khoer Dzan of the eastem Gobi Desert. Ronzotherium sp. and Allacerops sp. have been described from the Oligocene of Khoer Dzan. The genus Ronzotherium, formerly known from the Oligocene of eastem Europe, has been reliably established in the Oligocene fauna of Mongolia. The genus Symphysorrachis BELIAYEVA, 1954, previously believed to be a junior synonym of Ronzotherium, is here resurrected.
        Descriptions are provided for key localities in the Eocene and Oligocene of Mongolia and the adjacent territories of northern China, containing fossil Hyracodontidae and Rhinocerotidae. In addition, the question of the Eocene-Oligocene boundary in these Mongolian and Chinese sections is discussed. Paleontological evidence has been used to correlate Eocene-Oligocene boundary layers in the eastem Gobi Desert (Mongolia) and Inner Mongolia (China). A brief discussion is provided on the phylogenetic affinities of the genera within the family Hyracodontidae. 


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 21, Fasc. 1-2 (1991)

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Archosauriform teeth from the upper Triassic of Saint Nicolas-de-Port (Northeastern France).
Pascal Godefroit and Gilles Cuny
Keywords: Archosauriforms; Graoullyodon hacheti; Saint-Nicolas-de-port; Teeth; Upper Triassic
 
  Abstract

    The Late Triassic locality of Saint-Nicolas-de-Port (Meurthe-et-Moselle, France) has yielded numerous isolated teeth belonging to archosauriform reptiles. The following tooth groups can be identified: heterodont phytosaurs, the pterosaur Eudimorphodon, the prosauropod dinosaur Plateosaurus, three types of putative ornithischian teeth and 13 types of carnivorous Archosauriformes indet. Apparent venom-conducting teeth belonging to a new taxon of ?Archosauriformes (Graoullyodon hacheti nov. gen. nov. sp.) are also described. From a palaeogeographical point of view, the ornithischian teeth from Saint-Nicolas-de-Port (if their attribution is confirmed) are the oldest fossils of this group in Europe. The biostratigraphic distribution of the tooth forms mostly suggests a Late Norian or Early Rhaetian (depending on current interpretations) age of the deposits, but do not provide more precisions than fossils previously described from the area. The dietary habits and, consequently, the palaeoecological relationships of the different vertebrate groups discovered at Saint-Nicolas-de-Port are tentatively established: the ornithischian and prosauropod teeth reflect a herbivorous diet, whereas the other archosauriform teeth are probably from camivores or omnivores.

      


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 26, Fasc. 1-4 (1997)

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New datation of the Tafna Basin (Algeria): A combination between biochronological and magnetostratigraphical data
Salamet Mahboubi, Mouloud Benammi and Jean-Jacques Jaeger
Keywords: correlations; Late Miocene; North Africa; Rodentia

doi: 10.18563/pv.39.1.e1
 
  Abstract

    The Tafna Basin corresponds to the lowlands, which are located in front of Tessala and Traras ranges, below the Tlemcen mountains, Algeria. This basin displays a complete sedimentary cycle dominated by lagoonal-fluvial and marine deposits. The continental formations located at the base of these deposits are mainly composed of alternating sandstones and clays. An early late Miocene age has been previously attributed to them, based on direct correlations with marine deposits. Search for micromammal fossils led to the discovery of three different rodent species from a single level of the Djebel Guetaf section, located at the bottom of these deposits. The rodent assemblage indicates a late Miocene age. Combined magnetostratigraphical and biostratigraphical investigations were carried out to provide a more accurate age control of these continental deposits. Sixty-four oriented rock samples were collected for a magnetostratigraphic study along a 92 meters thick section including the fossiliferous layer. Rock magnetic investigations indicate the presence of both high and low coercivity minerals. Specimens subjected to progressive thermal demagnetization procedures show that the samples exhibit a high temperature magnetization component and display a normal polarity. Based on biostratigraphic constraints, the Guetaf section is correlated with Chron C4An, indicating an age ranging from
    9.1 to 8.7 Myr.
      


  Article infos

Published in Vol.39-1 (2015)

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Rana (Amphibia : Ranidae) from the upper eocene (MP17a) Hordle Cliff locality, Hampshire, England.
Alan J. Holman and David L. Harrison
Keywords: Amphibia; England; Rana; Ranidae; Upper Eocene
 
  Abstract

    An ilium from the Upper Eocene (MP l7a) of Hordle, England, represents the first report of Rana from the Eocene of Britain. The ilium is similar to those of the water frog (Rana [ridibunda]) species group. 


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 28, Fasc. 1 (1999)

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Systematic revision of Ctenodactylidae (Mammalia, Rodentia) from theMiocene of Pakistan.
J.A. Baskin
Keywords: Ctenodactylidae; Miocene; Prosayimys; Rodents; Sayimys; Siwalik
 
  Abstract

    Extensive sampling of the Siwalik deposits of the Potwar Plateau of northem Pakistan and from the Zinda Pir dome of central Pakistan has produced a fossil record of Miocene ctenodactylids that can be correlated with the paleomagnetic time scale. The early Miocene Prosayimys flynni (n. gen., n. sp.) is recognized as the first ctenodactylid in the Indian subcontinent. Prosayimys is ancestral to Sayimys. From the late early Miocene to the early late Miocene, there is an anagenetic succession of three species of Sayimys: S. cf. S. intermedius, S. sivalensis, and S. chinjiensis (n. sp.). Sayimys chinjiensis gave rise to the late late Miocene S. perplexus. A second lineage is represented by Sayimys minor, S. sp. A, and S. sp. B. 


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 25, Fasc. 1 (1996)

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Le genre Plagiolophus (Palaeotheriidae, Perissodactyla, Mammalia): révision systématique, morphologie et histologie dentaires, anatomie crânienne, essai d'interprétation fonctionnelle
Jean-Albert Remy
Keywords: New taxa; Paleogene; perissodactyls; skull anatomy; tooth histology
 
  Abstract

    The genus Plagiolophus is documented, almost solely in Western Europe, from the middle Eocene up to the mid Oligocene (MP 12 to MP 25), i.e. more than for 15 MY. Seventeen species are now recorded whose two of them are new, P. ringeadei nov. sp. and P. mamertensis nov. sp. Some anatomical variations and the deflection of certain evolutionary trends justify the distinction of three subgenera, Paloplotherium, Fraasiolophus nov. and Plagiolophus s.s. The genus displays a wide range in size and weight (between 10 and 150 kg). The detailed description of the skull of several species is here given for the first time.
    Despite important evolutionary drifts during this long time span, the dentition shows a great structural homogeneity, which renders difficult the determination of fragmentary specimens or isolated teeth. It is characterized by a great heterodonty; premolars are little molarized and present a certain regression through time with paradoxically some progress in the molarization. The hypsodonty increases: the first Plagiolophus are hardly less brachyodont than Propalaeotherium, and the last ones are nearly as hypsodont as Merychippus from the early Miocene. The upper molars change from a wide crown pattern, with an open occlusal surface, lightly oblique transverse lophs and rounded internal cusps, to a narrower pattern, with a frontally constricted occlusal surface and internal lophs aligned parallel to the ectoloph. The M3/3 become always longer.

    The dental enamel displays horizontal Schreger-bands with imprecise limits occupying only the middle part of the enamel layer. The dentine is remarkable by its high rate of pericanalicular dentine. The crown cementum, lacking in earlier forms, increases to the point where it fills the occlusal valleys of the
    teeth.

    The masticatory musculature shows a increasing prominence of the temporal, with probably an important role devoted to the pterygoid muscles in lateral movements related to a two-phase type of chewing.

    The evolution of the dentition, of the masticatory musculature and of the repartition of masticatory forces indicate that the Plagiolophus have known different diets through their long evolutionary history; at first browsers they became mixed feeders and finally grazers. Their relatively long neck allowed these animals to reach different vegetal layers. The strength of the nuchal crests also suggests that they were able to have strong backwards movements of the head to pull up their food.

    This evolution of diet seems related to the slow degradation of environmental conditions attested during this period in western Europe, with the generalization of more open landscapes, increasing aridity and more marked seasons.

    Besides, a remodeling of the face is ontogenetically and along time observed, in relation with the evolution of the masticatory apparatus and especially with that of the mandibular lever arm. The postcanine diastemata become longer in the course of evolution; the free extremities of the nasals are always relatively long which contradicts the hypothesis according to which Paloplotherium may have had a trunk. At last the lineage Fraasiolophus can be distinguished by the presence of a deep malar fossa, probably related to a strong development of the maxillo-labialis superior muscle.

    The orbit is always large and tends to increase in size, which indicates a good development of the vision and its increasing role in the life relations. A peculiar type of epitympanic sinus could have been used as a resonance chamber insuring a certain amplification of sounds before their transmission to the eardrum. The endocranial cast reveals a relatively large brain with an advanced degree of gyrencephaly. Beside the role eventually played in food research and social relations, these neurophysiological abilities, also related to an advance in cursorial fitness, could have contributed to the survival of these animals facing the predation pressure of the first fissipede carnivores and the competition with new immigrant herbivores after the "Grande Coupure".
    On the basis of some shared apomorphies with the Pachynolophinae, which prevent from considering the latter as Equidae (molarization of the premolars, reduction of the premaxilla dorsal apophysis, peculiar epitympanic sinus, splitting of the jugular process), the hypothesis of an autochthonous origin of Plagiolophus issued from a form near Propalaeotherium, is once again proposed and discussed. Finally, intra-generic relationships are taken into consideration. 


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 33, Fasc. 1-4 (2004)

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