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A new proteid salamander from the early Oligocene of Romania with notes on the paleobiogeography of Eurasian proteids

AuthorsVenczel, Márton; Codrea, Vlad
Issue Date26-Nov-2018
PublisherTaylor & Francis
CitationJournal of Vertebrate Paleontology 38(5): e1508027 (2018)
AbstractThe Proteidae represent a small group of perennibranchiate salamanders with a disjunct distribution in North America and southeastern Europe. Herein, we describe a new species of proteid salamander from the early Oligocene of Romania representing the geologically oldest member reported from the Cenozoic of Eurasia. Mioproteus gardneri, sp. nov., based on features of the vomers, dentaries, atlas, and vertebrae, appears to be closely allied with M. caucasicus and M. wezei, standing altogether as the sister group of Proteus, the only living European proteid. The apomorphies of the European clade, shared with the American members Necturus and Paranecturus, include the presence of dorsoventrally flattened anterior cotyles and alar-like processes, whereas a few other characters appear to be more derived in the European forms, such as the diverging anterior cotyles of the atlas enclosing an angle of 225°, the trunk vertebrae with strongly bifurcated neural spines, and unicipitate transverse processes. Peculiarly, the proteid remains from the early Oligocene locality of Suceag 1, Romania, were accompanied by the palaeobatrachid frog Albionbatrachus, a form closely linked to aquatic environments and having a limited fossil record in the Paleogene (upper Eocene of southern England, lower Oligocene of Romania, and upper Oligocene of Germany), suggesting that these fully aquatic groups probably used similar freshwater corridors to reach more southerly European territories.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2018.1508027
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