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We describe a new extinct spiny rat, Proclinodontomys dondasi n. gen. n. sp. (Rodentia, Caviomorpha, Echimyidae), represented by a noteworthy preserved skull and mandible from the early-middle Pleistocene outcrops at the coastal cliffs of SE Buenos Aires Province (Central Argentina). Phylogenetic analyses allow us to propose that the new species described here and the already known Eurzygomatomys mordax (Winge) represent a new genus closely related to the living Euryzygomatomys spinosus and Clyomys laticeps. The new genus differs from Euryzygomatomys and Clyomys by having much more procumbent upper incisors, a more developed fossa for the M. temporalis, more flared and laterally expanded zygomatic arches, frontal less markedly expanded posteriorly, jugals much deeper anteriorly than posteriorly, with the dorsal border descending more abruptly posteriorly, smaller orbital cavity, and external auditory meatus relatively smaller and slanted upward and backward. Several features of the new species reflect a higher degree of adaptation to semifossorial habits than those of E. spinosus. The origin of the semifossorial ecomorphotype within echimyids may have been triggered by the expansion of relatively open and arid environments that arose near the Miocene-Pliocene boundary. The record of this new echimyid in Central Argentina indicates that during the early-middle Pleistocene, the southern limit of the geographic range of extinct representatives of the Brazilian lineage of semifossorial echimyids extended farther south than that of their living members.
The Antarctic pelagornithid record is restricted to few isolated remains from the Eocene of Seymour Island in the Antarctic Peninsula. Here we report the oldest Antarctic pseudo-toothed bird. It is represented by an incomplete humerus lacking its proximal end, which comes from the lower Eocene levels of the La Meseta Formation (Seymour Island). This new specimen facilitates a review of all known pelagornithids from this continent. Antarctic pelagornithids were classified into two morphotypes that exhibit a mix of putative plesiomorphic and derived characters. Considering the worldwide pelagornithid record and according to estimated wingspans, four approximate size-types were identified. The oldest Antarctic specimens (two fragmentary humeri, middle Ypresian) were assigned to morphotype 1 and correspond to the large size-type. The younger materials (Bartonian/?Priabonian) here assigned to morphotype 2 (some cranial remains, fragmentary tarsometatarsus and humerus) correspond to the giant size-type and represent one of the largest known pseudo-toothed birds. Even though species level phylogenetic affinities of Pelagornithidae remain poorly resolved, three key evolutionary events can be recognized: (1) the disappearance of Dasornis in the Early Eocene and the appearance of more advanced forms with a trend to the specialization of large soaring capacity, (2) the origin of Pelagornis sensu lato species in the early Oligocene, and (3) the appearance and dominance of a highly specialized terminal group at Mio/Pliocene time span.
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