Skip to main content Accessibility help

New Olonbulukia material and its related assemblage reveal an early radiation of stem Caprini along the north of the Tibetan Plateau

  • Shi-Qi Wang (a1) (a2), Qing Yang (a3), Ya Zhao (a3), Chun-Xiao Li (a1) (a4), Qin-Qin Shi (a1), Li-Yi Zong (a3) and Jie Ye (a1)...


Living Caprini are dominant bovids in the pan-Tibetan area that are strongly adapted to dry steppe and high-mountain meadow habitats. Some taxa with Holarctic distributions, e.g., Ovis Linnaeus, 1758, were thought to originate on the Tibetan Plateau and subsequently dispersed elsewhere, which was depicted as an ‘out of Tibet’ story. However, except for some information on a stem caprine assemblage from the Qaidam Basin, the early evolution of Caprini around the Tibetan Plateau is poorly known. Here, we report new material of Olonbulukia tsaidamensis Bohlin, 1937, which was a member of this stem caprine assemblage, from the Wuzhong region, northern China, confirming the similarity of the Wuzhong Fauna and ‘Qaidam Fauna.’ Based on a biometric study of horncores from the ‘Qaidam’ and Wuzhong faunas, we recognize six taxa from this stem caprine assemblage: O. tsaidamensis, O. sp., Qurliqnoria cheni Bohlin, 1937, Tossunnoria pseudibex Bohlin, 1937, ?Protoryx cf. P. enanus Köhler, 1987, and cf. Pachytragus sp. Among these taxa, Q. cheni and T. pseudibex are probably related to some extant Tibetan endemic species, e.g., the Tibetan antelope, Pantholops hodgsonii (Abel, 1826), and the Himalayan tahr, Hemitragus jemlahicus (Smith, 1826). Others might be ancestral to the Turolian caprine assemblages and even possibly gave rise to the extant Caprina. This work reveals an early radiation of stem caprines along the northern side of the rising Tibetan Plateau and indicates a mixed pattern of pan-Tibetan stem caprine evolution prior to their dispersal out of the Tibetan Plateau.



Hide All
Abel, C., 1826, On the supposed unicorn of the Himalayas: Philosophical Magazine and Journal, v. 68, p. 232234.
Azanza, B., and Morales, J., 1994, Tethytragus nov. gen. et Gentrytragus nov. gen.: deux nouveaux bovidés (Artiodactyla, Mammalia) du Miocène moyen, relations phylogénétiques des bovidés anté-vallésiens: Proceedings of the Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen, v. 97, p. 249282.
Bärmann, E.V., and Rössner, G.E., 2011, Dental nomenclature in Ruminantia: towards a standard terminological framework: Mammalian Biology, v. 76, p. 762768, doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2011.07.002.
Bibi, F., 2013, A multi-calibrated mitochondrial phylogeny of extant Bovidae (Artiodactyla, Ruminantia) and the importance of the fossil record to systematics: BMC Evolutionary Biology, v. 13, p. 166, doi:10.1186/1471-2148-13-166.
Bibi, F., and Güleç, E.S., 2008, Bovidae (Mammalia: Artiodactyla) from the late Miocene of Sivas, Turkey: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 28, p. 501519, doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2008)28[501:BMAFTL]2.0.CO;2.
Bibi, F., Bukhsianidze, M., Gentry, A.W., Geraads, D., Kostopoulos, D., and Vrba, E.S., 2009, The fossil record and evolution of Bovidae: state of the field: Palaeontologia Electronica, v. 12, p. 110.
Blyth, E., 1840, Letter February 11: 1840 Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, v. 1, p. 1119.
Bohlin, B., 1935a, Tsaidamotherium hedini, n. g., n. sp.: Geografiska Annaler, v. 71, p. 6674.
Bohlin, B., 1935b, Cavicorner der Hipparion-Fauna Nord-Chinas: Palaeontologia Sinica, ser. C, v. 9, p. 1166.
Bohlin, B., 1937, Eine tertiäre Saugetier-Fauna aus Tsaidam: Palaeontologia Sinica, ser. C, v. 14, p. 1111.
Castelló, R.J., 2016, Bovids of the World: Antelopes, Gazelles, Cattle, Goats, Sheep, and Relatives: Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 664 p.
Chen, G.F., and Zhang, Z.Q., 2009, Taxonomy and evolutionary process of Neogene Bovidae from China: Vertebrata PalAsiatica, v. 47, p. 265281.
Deng, T., and Ding, L., 2015, Paleo-altimetry reconstructions of the Tibetan Plateau: progress and contradictions: National Science Review, v. 93, p. 9295, doi:10.1093/nsr/nwv062.
Deng, T., Wang, X.M., Fortelius, M., Li, Q., Wang, Y., Tseng, Z.J., Takeuchi, G.T., Saylor, J.E., Säilä, L.K., and Xie, G.P., 2011, Out of Tibet: Pliocene wooly rhino suggests high-plateau origin of ice age megaherbivores: Science, v. 333, p. 12851288, doi:10.1126/science.1206594.
Dmitrieva, E.L., and Serdyuk, N.V., 2011, Hippotraginae (Bovidae, Artiodactyla, Mammalia) from the late Miocene of Tuva: Paleontological Journal, v. 45, p. 665673, doi:10.1134/S0031030111060050.
Dove, W.F., 1935, The physiology of horn growth: a study of the morphogenesis, interaction of tissues, and the evolutionary processes of a Mendelian recessive character by means of transplantation of tissues: The Journal of Experimental Zoology, v. 69, p. 347405.
Geist, V., 1987, On the evolution of the Caprinae, in Lovari, S., ed., The Biology and Management of Mountain Ungulates: London, Croom Helm, p. 340.
Gentry, A.W., 1968, The extinct bovid genus Qurliqnoria Bohlin: Journal of Mammalogy, v. 49, p. 769.
Gentry, A.W., 1971, The earliest goats and other antelopes from Samos Hipparion Fauna: Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Geology, v. 20, p. 229296.
Gentry, A.W., 1992, The subfamilies and tribes of the family Bovidae: Mammal Review, v. 22, p. 132.
Gentry, A.W., 2000, Caprinae and Hippotragini (Bovidae, Mammalia) in the upper Miocene, in Vbra, E.S., and Schaller, G.B., eds., Antelopes, Deer and Relatives: Fossil Record, Behavioral Ecology, Systematics and Conservation: New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, p. 6583.
Gray, J.E., 1821, On the natural arrangement of vertebrose animals: London Medical Repository, v. 15, p. 296310.
Hassanin, A., Delsuc, F., Ropiquet, A., Hammer, C., Jansen van Vuuren, B., Matthee, C., Ruiz-Garcia, M., Catzeflis, F., Areskoug, V., Nguyen, T.T., and Couloux, A, 2012, Pattern and timing of diversification of Cetartiodactyla (Mammalia, Laurasiatheria), as revealed by a comprehensive analysis of mitochondrial genomes: Comptes Rendus Biologies, v. 335, p. 3250, doi:10.1016/j.crvi.2011.11.002.
Hodgson, B.H., 1841, Classified catalogue of mammals of Nepal, corrected to end of 1840, first printed in 1832: Calcutta Journal of Natural History, v. 2, p. 212221.
Hodgson, B.H., 1846, Description of a new species of Tibetan antelope: Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, v. 15, p. 334343.
Janis, C.M., and Scott, K.M., 1987, The interrelationships of higher ruminant families with special emphasis on the members of the Cervoidea: Amercan Museum Novitates, v. 2893, p. 185.
Kingdon, J., 1982, East African Mammals: An Atlas of Evolution in Africa, IIIC: London, Academic Press, 404 p.
Köhler, M., 1987, Boviden des türkischen Miozäns (Känozoikum und Braunkohlen der Türkei) : Paleontologia i Evolució, v. 21, p. 133246.
Kostopoulos, D.S., 2005, The Bovidae (Mammalia, Artiodactyla) from the late Miocene of Akkaşdağı, Turkey: Geodiversitas, v. 27, p. 747791.
Lartet, É., 1837, Notice sur les ossements fossiles des terrains tertiaires de Simorre, de Sansan, etc., et sur la découverte récente d'un emâchoire de singe fossile: Comptes Rendus Hebdomaires l'Academie de Sciences, v. 4, p. 1583.
Linnaeus, C., 1758, Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae (tenth edition), Volume 1, Regnum Animale: Stockholm, Laurentii Salvii, 824 p
Major, C.I.F., 1891, Considérations nouvelles sur la faune des vertébrés du Miocène supérieur dans l’Île de Samos: Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances de l'Académie des Sciences, Paris, v. 113, p. 608610.
Owen, R., 1848, The Archetype and Homologies of the Vertebrate Skeleton: London, J. van Voorst, 203 p.
Qiu, Z.X., Ye, J., and Jiang, Y.J., 1987, Some mammalian fossils of Bahe Stage from Wuzhong, Ningxia: Vertebrata PalAsiatica, v. 25, p. 4656.
Robinson, P., 1972, Pachytragus solignaci, a new species of caprine bovid from the late Miocene Beglia Formation of Tunisia: Notes du Service Géologique de Tunisie, v. 37, p. 7394.
Roger, O., 1904, Wirbeltierreste aus dem Obermiozän der bayrisch-schwäbischen Hochebene, V: Bericht des Naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins für Schwaben und Neuburg, Augsburg, v. 36, p. 119.
Ropiquet, A., and Hassanin, A., 2004, Molecular phylogeny of caprines (Bovidae, Antilopinae): the question of their origin and diversification during the Miocene: Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, v. 43, p. 4960, doi:10.1111/j.1439-0469.2004.00290.x.
Schlosser, M., 1904, Die fossiles Cavicornis von Samos: Beiträge zur Paläontologie und Geologie Österreich-Ungarn, v. 17, p. 21118.
Shen, X.H., Tian, Q.J., Ding, G.Y., Wei, K.B., Chen, Z.W., and Chai, C.Z., 2001, The late Cenozoic stratigraphic sequence and its implication to tectonic evolution, Hejiakouzi Area, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region: Earthquake Research in China, v. 17, p. 156166.
Shi, Q.Q., 2014, New species of Tsaidamotherium (Bovidae, Artiodactyla) from China sheds new light on the skull morphology and systematics of the genus: Science China: Earth Science, v. 57, p. 258266, doi:10.1007/s11430-013-4722-2.
Smith, C.H., 1826–1827, The seventh order of the Mammalia: The Ruminantia, in Griffith, E., Smith, C.H., and Pidgeon, E., eds., The Animal Kingdom, the Class Mammalia, Arranged by the Baron Cuvier, with Specific Discriptions: London, Willian Clowes, Charing Cross, v. 4, p. 1498.
Thenius, E., 1979, Zur systematischen Stellung und verbreitung von Gazella stehlini aus dem Miozän Europas: Anzeiger der Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse, v. 116, p. 913.
Wang, S.Q., Zong, L.Y., Yang, Q., Sun, B.Y., Li, Y., Shi, Q.Q., Yang, X.W., Ye, J., and Wu, W.Y., 2016, Biostratigraphic subdividing of the Neogene Dingjia'ergou mammalian fauna, Tongxin County, Ningxia Province, and its background for the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau: Quaternary Sciences, v. 36, p. 789809, doi:10.11928/j.issn.1001-7410.2016.0402.
Wang, X.M., Xie, G.P., Li, Q., Qiu, Z.D., Tseng, Z.J., Takeuchi, G.T., Wang, B.Y., Fortelius, M., Rosenström, F.A., Wahlquist, H., Downs, W.R., Zhang, C.F., and Wang, Y., 2011, Early explorations of Qaidam Basin (Tibetan Plateau) by Birger Bohlin—reconciling classic vertebrate fossil localities with modern biostratigraphy: Vertebrata PalAsiatica, v. 49, p. 285310.
Wang, X.M., Li, Q., Xie, G.P., Saylor, J.E., Tseng, Z.J., Takeuchi, G.T., Deng, T., Wang, Y., Hou, S.K., Liu, J., Zhang, C.F., Wang, N., and Wu, F.X., 2013, Mio-Pleistocene Zanda Basin biostratigraphy and geochronology, pre-Ice Age fauna, and mammalian evolution in western Himalaya: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 374, p. 8195, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.01.007.
Wang, X.M., Xie, G.P., and Takeuchi, G., 2016, Out of Tibet: an early sheep from the Pliocene of Tibet, Protovis himalayensis, gen. et sp. nov. (Bovidae, Caprini), and origin of Ice Age mountain sheep: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 5, p. 112, doi:10.1018/02724634.2016.1169190.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

New Olonbulukia material and its related assemblage reveal an early radiation of stem Caprini along the north of the Tibetan Plateau

  • Shi-Qi Wang (a1) (a2), Qing Yang (a3), Ya Zhao (a3), Chun-Xiao Li (a1) (a4), Qin-Qin Shi (a1), Li-Yi Zong (a3) and Jie Ye (a1)...


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.