JOURNAL ARTICLE

A structural intermediate between triisodontids and mesonychians (Mammalia, Acreodi) from the earliest Eocene of Portugal

Rodolphe Tabuce, Julien Clavel, Miguel Telles Antunes
Die Naturwissenschaften 2011, 98 (2): 145-55
21181109
A new mammal, Mondegodon eutrigonus gen. et sp. nov., is described from the earliest Eocene locality of Silveirinha, Portugal. This species shows dental adaptations indicative of a carnivorous diet. M. eutrigonus is referred to the order Acreodi and considered, along with the early Paleocene North American species Oxyclaenus cuspidatus, as a morphological intermediate between two groups of ungulate-like mammals, namely, the triisodontids and mesonychians. Considering that triisodontids are early to early-late Paleocene North American taxa, Mondegodon probably belongs to a group that migrated from North America towards Europe during the first part of the Paleocene. Mondegodon could represent thus a relict genus, belonging to the ante-Eocene European mammalian fauna. The occurrence of such a taxon in Southern Europe may reflect a period of isolation of this continental area during the Paleocene/Eocene transition. In this context, the non-occurrence of closely allied forms of Mondegodon in the Eocene North European mammalian faunas is significant. This strengthens the hypothesis that the mammalian fauna from Southern Europe is characterized by a certain degree of endemism during the earliest Eocene. Mondegodon also presents some striking similarities with an unnamed genus from the early Eocene of India which could represent the first Asian known transitional form between the triisodontids and mesonychians.

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