Saturday, April 30, 2016

A new Bolivian Fauna of Middle Miocene Climatic Optimum

New mammal faunal data from Cerdas, Bolivia, a middle-latitude Neotropical site that chronicles the end of the Middle Miocene Climatic Optimum in South America


Croft et al


We provide new and revised identifications of mammals from the early middle Miocene (Langhian age, Colloncuran South American Land Mammal Age [SALMA]) of Cerdas, Bolivia. We also formally name a new typothere notoungulate, Hegetotherium cerdasensis, sp. nov., that can be distinguished by the absence of an external talonid sulcus on m3 and its small size (15–25% smaller than Hegetotherium mirabile). We refer several typothere specimens from Nazareno, Bolivia, to H. cerdasensis, which suggests that the two sites are of similar age. We report the first sparassodont and astrapothere remains from Cerdas. Sparassodont remains include an associated basicranium and mostly complete mandible; the species appears to represent a new, small-bodied borhyaenoid. Astrapothere remains consist of many tooth fragments from a new species of the subfamily Uruguaytheriinae. A partial sloth dentary from Cerdas likely pertains to the subfamily Megatheriinae and is the first report of the family Megatheriidae from the site. A newly discovered peltephilid armadillo specimen includes a partial articulated carapace that supports recognition of the Cerdas taxon as a new species. The two dasypodids of Cerdas (one Euphractini, one Eutatini) represent two new species closely related to undescribed species from the late middle Miocene (Serravallian age, Laventan SALMA) of Quebrada Honda, Bolivia. The mammals of Cerdas indicate that (1) the middle latitudes (southern tropics) contributed significantly to the diversity of Miocene mammal communities in South America; and (2) the Middle Miocene Climatic Optimum was a key factor in the differentiation of South American mammal assemblages.

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