Middle-Eocene artiodactyls from Shanghuang (Jiangsu Province, Coastal China) and the diversity of basal dichobunoids in Asia

Grégoire Metais, Tao Qi, Jianwei Guo, K Christopher Beard
Die Naturwissenschaften 2008, 95 (12): 1121-35
A new assemblage of basal dichobunoid artiodactyls from the middle-Eocene Shanghuang fissure fillings includes the diacodexeid Jiangsudon shanghuangensis gen. and sp. nov., a new species of the lantianine dichobunoid Elaschitotherium, Elaschitotherium crepaturus sp. nov., and an indeterminate suoid which is presently the earliest record of this clade. Diacodexeids are also represented by two forms provisionally referred to cf. Diacodexis sp. and to an indeterminate Diacodexeidae, respectively. The occurrence of diacodexeids in Shanghuang contrasts with the early and earliest middle-Eocene chronological range of the family in Europe and North America and suggests that the stratigraphic range of the family in Asia extends up to the middle Eocene. This may reflect particular habitats in coastal China that may have been relatively stable during the early and middle Eocene, thus preserving forest-dwelling artiodactyls that became extinct in the other Holarctic regions. Compared to other supposedly coeval North American, European, and Asian faunas, the Shanghuang mammalian assemblage is most similar to early Uintan faunas of North America but is also remarkable in recording forms close to taxa that are characteristic of the Wasatchian and Bridgerian North American Land Mammal Ages. The Irdinmanhan age of the Shanghuang fauna is supported by the mammalian assemblage recovered from the fissure D, but an Arshantan age cannot be completely ruled out at this point. Although the Shanghuang assemblage is biased towards preservation of small components of the mammalian fauna, the Shanghuang fauna provide an important and unique window into the Eocene diversity and early evolution of cetartiodactyls in eastern Asia.

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