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Radiation of Early Cenozoic Didymoconidae (Condylarthra, Mesonychia) in Asia, with a New Genus from the Early Eocene of Western North America

Philip D. Gingerich
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 62, No. 3 (Aug., 1981), pp. 526-538
DOI: 10.2307/1380400
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1380400
Page Count: 13
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Radiation of Early Cenozoic Didymoconidae (Condylarthra, Mesonychia) in Asia, with a New Genus from the Early Eocene of Western North America
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Abstract

A new genus and species of carnivorous mammal is described from early Eocene (Wasatchian) sediments of the Clark's Fork and Bighorn Basins in northwestern Wyoming. The new form has cheek teeth most closely resembling those of Asian Didymoconidae; however, it retains a full complement of four premolars and three molars. A new subfamily is proposed for primitive generalized didymoconids including the Wyoming genus and, tentatively, Mongoloryctes. Didymoconines Archaeoryctes, Hunanictis, Ardynictis, and Didymoconus, ranging from the late Paleocene to Oligocene in Central Asia, represent a radiation characterized by loss of P11 and M33 with progressive simplification of the remaining cheek teeth. The Wyoming didymoconid is known only from early Wasatchian faunas. This restricted temporal distribution, together with its systematic affinities, suggests that the Wyoming form was a short-lived North American immigrant representing a group whose principal radiation occurred in Asia. The Wyoming form is one of the oldest and most primitive didymoconids. Among Paleocene mammals it most closely resembles Yantanglestes conexus, an early mesonychid from the middle(?) Paleocene of South China, suggesting that didymoconids and mesonychids may share a common ancestry. Didymoconidae are provisionally classified with Mesonychidae in the order Condylarthra.

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