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A new anthracothere (Artiodactyla) from the early Oligocene, Fayum, Egypt, and the mystery of African ‘Rhagatherium’ solved

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2016

Afifi H. Sileem
Affiliation:
Vertebrate Paleontology Section, Cairo Geological Museum, Cairo, Egypt 〈afifi.sileem@yahoo.com〉
Hesham M. Sallam
Affiliation:
Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology Center, Department of Geology, Mansoura University, Mansoura, 35516, Egypt 〈sallam@mans.edu.eg〉
Abdel Galil A. Hewaidy
Affiliation:
Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, Al-Azhar University, Egypt 〈ahewaidy50@yahoo.com〉
Ellen R. Miller
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27106, USA 〈millerer@wfu.edu〉
Gregg F. Gunnell
Affiliation:
Division of Fossil Primates, Duke Lemur Center, Durham, North Carolina 27705, USA 〈gregg.gunnell@duke.edu〉

Abstract

Recent work on new anthracothere (Mammalia, Artiodactyla) specimens from the Jebel Qatrani Formation, early Oligocene, Fayum, Egypt, has revealed the presence of a new genus. Nabotherium new genus is described on the basis of a partial skull, several mandibular and maxillary specimens, and isolated teeth. The new genus exhibits a distinctive combination of features not seen in other Paleogene anthracotheres. The most noticeable characteristics of the new genus include the presence of large and well-developed upper and lower canines, caniniform third incisors, the presence of only a short diastema between the canine and first premolar, and broad, bunodont cheek teeth. This is in contrast to other contemporary anthracotheres, including other forms from the Fayum, which show a spatulate third incisor, a reduced canine, a much longer canine-premolar diastema, and more narrow, bunoselenodont cheek teeth. The presence of a relatively short rostrum with closely packed incisors, low-crowned and simple premolars, and low-crowned, bunodont molars indicates that members of the new genus would have been more efficient at crushing foods than slicing vegetation, and suggests a more varied herbivorous and frugivorous diet than was favored by other, more bunoselenodont Fayum anthracotheres.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2016, The Paleontological Society 

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