Sunday, December 13, 2015

Xenokeryx amidalae: an Extinction Palaeomerycid Ruminant Related to Giraffes From Miocene Neogene Spain

The extinct three-horned palaeomerycid ruminant, Xenokeryx amidalae, found in Spain, may be from the same clade as giraffes, according to a study published December 2, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Israel M. Sánchez from the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales-CSIC, Madrid, Spain, and colleagues.

Palaeomerycids, now extinct, were strange three-horned Eurasian Miocene ruminants known through fossils from Spain to China. In this article, the authors classify the palaeomerycid to their clade based on shared characteristics with the best-known species of the group and reassess their phylogenetic position among ruminants, which is currently disputed. The authors use well-preserved remains of a new palaeomerycid, Xenokeryx amidalae, which included a complete sample of cranial--including both frontal and supra-occipital 't-shaped' cranial appendages--dental, and postcranial remains, from middle Miocene deposits of Spain.

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