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A New Fossil Anteater (Edentata, Mammalia) from Colombia, S.A. and Evolution of the Vermilingua

Sue E. Hirschfeld
Journal of Paleontology
Vol. 50, No. 3 (May, 1976), pp. 419-432
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1303522
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A New Fossil Anteater (Edentata, Mammalia) from Colombia, S.A. and Evolution of the Vermilingua
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Abstract

The La Venta fauna of Colombia, South America contains a diverse assemblage of pilosan edentates including mylodonts, scelidotheres, megatheres, megalonychids and anteaters. The La Venta fauna is correlated with the Friasian Age of Argentina, considered to be Late Miocene (fide Patterson and Pascual, 1972). An anteater, Neotamandua borealis, n. sp., is directly ancestral to the living giant anteater, Myrmecophaga, and close to the ancestry of the lesser anteater, Tamandua. Cranial differences between the three living genera of anteaters do not result simply from allometric growth differences as suggested by Reeve (1940), although it is true that the smallest anteater, Cyclopes, has proportionately the shortest snout, middle-sized Tamandua has a middle-sized snout, and the largest anteater, Myrmecophaga, has the longest snout. The fossil record indicates the living genera are not as closely related as previously thought. Myrmecophaga and Tamandua had a common ancestor, Protamandua, in the Santacruzian but were already distinct by the Friasian, indicated by Neotamandua from La Venta. These genera were not part of the ancestry of Cyclopes to which the Huayquerian genus Palaeomyrmidon is more closely related. Morphologic differences between the larger living genera and Cyclopes indicate it should be placed in a separate family of the Vermilingua.

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