Bolivia: ancient mammal fossil discovered

Notoungulate family treeFrom Case Western Reserve University in the USA, with other hyperlinks there:

Fossils of a new hoofed mammal that resembles a cross between a dog and a hare which once roamed the Andes Mountains in southern Bolivia around 13 million years ago was discovered by Darin A. Croft, assistant professor of anatomy at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a research associate at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

With Federico Anaya from Universidad Autónoma Tomás Frías, Croft reported on the new mammal find named Hemihegetotherium trilobus in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology article, “A New Middle Miocene Hegetotherid (Notoungulata: Typotheria) and a Phylogeny of the Hegetotheriidae.”

It is named for the distinctive three lobes on its back lower molar teeth.

The animal belonged to a group of animals called notoungulates—hoofed mammals native only to South America.

The group originated in South America soon after the dinosaurs went extinct and evolved to include hundreds of species over a span of more than 50 million years; all of them are now extinct

Although most notoungulates were gone before humans got to South America, some of the earliest humans to journey to that continent may have seen the last living notoungulates.

For most of the time the notoungulates were living in South America, the continent was an island, isolated from both Antarctica and North America.

Late Oligocene mesotheriids (Mammalia, Notoungulata) from Salla and Lacayani (Bolivia): implications for basal mesotheriid phylogeny and distribution: here.

Miocene South America was much like modern-day Australia, cut off from the rest of the world’s continents and free to witness the evolution of a bizarre array of mammalian megafauna. Astrapotherium was a good example: this hooved ungulate (a distant relative of modern horses) looked like a cross between an elephant, a tapir and a rhinoceros, distinguished by its short, prehensile trunk and powerful tusks: here.

1 thought on “Bolivia: ancient mammal fossil discovered

  1. Pingback: New ecotourism centre in Bolivia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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