Palaeo Vertebrata - Articles

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December 2008
Vol. 36, Fasc. 1-4
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PalaeovertebrataVol. 36, Fasc. 1-4:89-157. 2008
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A new study of the anthracotheres (Mammalia, Artiodactyla) from pondaung formation, Myanmar: systematics implications
Aung N. Soe
Keywords: Anthracohyus; Anthracokeryx; Anthracotherium; Pondaung Formation; sexual dimorphism; Siamotherium; South East Asia; Taxonomy

doi: 10.18563/pv.36.1-4.89-157
 

Cite this article: Soe A. N., 2008. A new study of the anthracotheres (Mammalia, Artiodactyla) from pondaung formation, Myanmar: systematics implications. Palaeovertebrata 36 (1-4): 89-157. doi: 10.18563/pv.36.1-4.89-157

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Abstract

Anthracotheres from the Pondaung Formation, Myanmar, are considered as one of the most primitive artiodactyl groups and they represent the oldest known record in the world. Thus, the understanding of this group has numerous implications for evolutionary biology and biochronological correlations. However, the systematlcs of these mammals has been interpreted in different ways, and the main debate focuses on the number of taxa represented in the Pondaung Formation. The revised taxonomy proposed here is mainly based on the relative development of the upper molar W-shaped ectoloph, system of crests and stylar cusps, and on body size. On the basis of these characters, they are classified into four genera including six different species. Two well-known genera, Anthracotherium and Anthracokeryx, are validated and more precisely diagnosed. Anthracokeryx possesses a better developed W-shaped ectoloph, system of crests and stylar cusps than Anthracotherium, which displays notable differences with the more derived representatives of this genus. Both of these Pondaung genera show evidence for sexual dimorphism. However, the incompleteness of fossil material fueled a debate concerning the status of two additional Pondaung anthracotheres, Siamotherium and Anthracohyus. The latter genus is of uncertain affinities, but it has been considered as a hippopotamid ancestor. Despite new material attributed to these two forms, additional discoveries are still required to establish their taxonomic status. The hypothesis that Southeast Asia was the centre of origin of Anthracotheriidae is supported by the retention of numerous primitive dental characters in these taxa and by the antiquity of the Pondaung Formation, to which an age of 37 My is now generally accepted. 



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

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