December 2000
Vol. 29, Fasc. 2-4
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Print ISSN: 0031-0247
Online ISSN: 2274-0333
Frequency: biannual

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Palaeovertebrata Vol. 29, Fasc. 2-4:December 2000

Table of contents


Rythme et modalités de l'évolution chez les rongeurs à la fin de l'Oligocène-leurs relations avec les changements de l'environnement.
Bernard Comte
Keywords: Environment; evolution; Oligocene; Rodents; Systematics

    The analysis of oxygene isotope variations as well as paleobotanical data suggest that the Oligocene/Miocene boundary corresponds to a transitional period marked by floristical and climatic variations. During this period, the pyreneo-alpine tectonics has contribued to modify the geography and western Europe landscapes. Faunal changes (appearances, extinctions, migrations) are observed in different mammalian groups, notably in the rodents. A study of the evolutionary trends and patterns in paleogene rodents is involved for the period ranging from level MP 28 of the Late Oligocene to the Early Miocene, including the Oligo-Miocene boundary.
    The Rodents fauna from the sites of Venelles (Bouches-du-Rhône District, France) and Thezels (Lot, France), previously mentionned in litterature, have been studied. The first description of the Eomyidae of La Milloque (MP 29) has been completed. These faunas are compared to those from various localities dating from the considered period. In La Milloque, a new representative of the Eomys species is described next to a form close to Rhodanomys hugueneyae ENGESSER, 1987. It is the Eomys milloquensis nov. sp., the likely descendant of Eomys quercyi COMTE & VIANEY-LIAUD, 1987. Two new species are also described in Thezels: Eucricetodon thezelensis nov. sp., resulting from a likely and local evolution of Eucricetodon praecursor (SCHAUB, 1925) from La Milloque, which, in the same geographic area, could be at the origin of Eucricetodon hesperius ENGESSER, 1985 from Paulhiac. Plesiosminthus admyarion nov. sp., quite distinct from Plesiosminthus schaubi VIRET, 1926, which announces Plesiosminthus myarion SCHAUB 1930. Venelles 'Plesiosminthus schaubi population is considered as a sub-species, named Plesiosminthus schaubi meridionalis nov. subsp. New phylogenetic patterns are proposed. Among the Eomyidae, a quantification of various features of the M1-2/ crown (hypsodonty, degree of abrasion, occlusal angle, state of development of the I and V anticlines), and a comparison with the occlusal diagram of the other teeth among various other populations allows a more efficient separation of Eomys and Rhodanomys genera. In Western Europe, and within this period, it finally does not seem possible to gradually connect the genus Eomys to the genus Rhodanomys. The evolution of the Eomys quercyi - milloquensis lineage seems to underline a similar evolution to that which may have led from the Eomys to the Rhodanomys form. The latter which appears totally accomplished at level MP 29 of the Oligocene is considered as an immigrant. If we compare the most representative species of the Venelles, Thezels, and Coderet sites, (i.e. Rhodanomys, Eucricetodon, Adelomyarion, Peridyromys, Plesíosminthus), it becomes impossible to confirm their biochronological separation. The noticeable differences between the populations may be interpreted as geographical variations. An explanation to these variations, and to fauna's evolution during the Late Oligocene and Early Miocene can be found in the environmental modifications, supported by isotopic, paleobotanical and sedimentologic analysis. A tentative reconstruction of the environments is attempted by the cenogram method. The analysis of the fluctuations of fauna's diversity shows variations which may be correlated to a drop in temperature at MP 29, during the Late Oligocene, followed by an increase in temperature along with an aridity phenomenom, during the basal Miocene (MN O).The confrontation of various methods give the opportunity of reconstituting and comparing the evolution of the environment of three sequences of sites chosen from different regions. Ecological affinities of various rodents' species are being examined. It is possible to consider that the integration of all the conclusions resulting from this study should lead to an explanation to the evolution of rodents for the period around the Oligocene-Miocene boundary. The site of Coderet- level 3- would be posterior to the latter, at the beginnig of the Miocene, and would mark the level MN 0 of the Aquitanian.


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