Widanelfarasia, a diminutive placental from the late Eocene of Egypt

E R Seiffert, E L Simons
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2000 March 14, 97 (6): 2646-51
The lower dentition of Widanelfarasia (new genus), a diminutive late Eocene placental from the Fayum Depression in Egypt, is described. Widanelfarasia exhibits a complex of features associated with incipient zalambdodonty and at least three unequivocal apomorphies [loss of P(1), an enlarged I(2) (relative to I(3)), and a basal cusp on I(2)], which provide weak support for its placement as a possible sister taxon of either a tenrecid-chrysochlorid clade or of solenodontids. The former hypothesis gains additional support from biogeographical evidence, but both scenarios are currently tenuous as Widanelfarasia is clearly not truly zalambdodont. Phylogenetic hypotheses positing affinities with tenrecids alone or chrysochlorids alone must invoke either convergent acquisition of zalambdodonty in these taxa or autapomorphic reversal in Widanelfarasia. Given these considerations, a relationship with more generalized taxa from the Laurasian Paleogene (e.g., geolabidids, nyctitheriids, leptictids) cannot yet be ruled out. Comparisons with other Paleogene Afro-Arabian forms are generally inconclusive. A relationship with the earlier Eocene Chambilestes from Tunisia-currently represented by a single specimen preserving P(4)-M(3)-seems possible based on the geometry and predicted occlusal relationships of these teeth, but cannot be confidently determined until these two taxa come to be represented by common diagnostic elements. Todralestes (late Paleocene, Morocco) exhibits general phenetic similarities to Widanelfarasia, but it is not yet known whether this taxon shares any of Widanelfarasia's unequivocal dental apomorphies. Pending the recovery of more informative material, we tentatively refer Widanelfarasia to Placentalia incertae sedis. Truly zalambdodont placentals remain conspicuously absent from the Paleogene of Afro-Arabia.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"