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Title

Systematics and evolution of the Miocene three-horned palaeomerycid ruminants (Mammalia, Cetartiodactyla)

AuthorsSánchez, Israel Miguel ; Cantalapiedra, Juan L. ; Ríos, María; Quiralte, Victoria; Morales, Jorge
Issue Date2-Dec-2015
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 10(12): e0143034 (2015)
AbstractPalaeomerycids were strange three-horned Eurasian Miocene ruminants known through fossils from Spain to China. We here study their systematics, offering the first cladistic phylogeny of the best-known species of the group, and also reassess their phylogenetic position among ruminants, which is currently disputed. The beautifully preserved remains of a new palaeomerycid from middle Miocene deposits of Spain, Xenokeryx amidalae gen. et sp. nov., helps us to better understand palaeomerycid anatomy, especially that of the nuchal region in the skull, significantly improving our current knowledge on these enigmatic ruminants. Our results show two main lineages of palaeomerycids, one containing the genus Ampelomeryx diagnosed by a characteristic type of cranium / cranial appendages and some dental derived traits, and another one that clusters those forms more closely related to Triceromeryx than to Ampelomeryx, characterized by a more derived dentition and a set of apomorphic cranial features. Xenokeryx branches as a basal offshoot of this clade. Also, we find that Eurasian palaeomerycids are not closely related to North American dromomerycids, thus rejecting the currently more accepted view of palaeomerycids as the Eurasian part of the dromomerycid lineage. Instead of this, palaeomerycids are nested with the African Miocene pecoran Propalaeoryx and with giraffoids. On the other hand, dromomerycids are closely related to cervids. We define a clade Giraffomorpha that includes palaeomerycids and giraffids, and propose an emended diagnosis of the Palaeomerycidae based on cranial and postcranial characters, including several features of the cranium not described so far. We also define the Palaeomerycidae as the least inclusive clade of pecorans containing Triceromeryx and Ampelomeryx. Finally, we reassess the taxonomy of several palaeomerycid taxa.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0143034
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/127410
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0143034
E-ISSN1932-6203
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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