REVISION OF THE MIOCENE CAVIOMORPH RODENTS FROM THE RÍO SANTA CRUZ (ARGENTINEAN PATAGONIA)

Michelle Arnal, María Encarnación Pérez, Cecilia Deschamps

Resumen


Abstract. Fossil rodents from the Río Santa Cruz (RSC) classic localities (Santa Cruz Formation, Early–Middle Miocene) are known by the works of F. Ameghino and W.B. Scott since the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. These caviomorph rodents have not been comprehensively reviewed since then. In this contribution, we studied new fossil specimens from the cliffs of the RSC (Province of Santa Cruz, Argentina) collected with accurate stratigraphic and geographic data during fieldtrips in 2013 and 2014. An increase in the caviomorph taxonomic richness is observed, based upon our taxonomic study of caviomorphs previously recorded in the RSC. Also, these fieldworks recovered for the first time several taxa previously found in other Santacrucian and even older Patagonian localities (Colhuehuapian, Early Miocene). As a general evolutionary pattern, we note an increase of derived euhypsodont taxa (Prolagostomus, Pliolagostomus, Schistomys, and Eocardia) in Segundas Barrancas Blancas (16.47–15.3 Ma). In addition, a taxonomic replacement of Phanomys by Schistomys is noted between Barrancas Blancas (17.21–16.3 Ma) and Segundas Barrancas Blancas, as well as a notably increase in the abundance of the large Perimys onustus in the latter locality. The present study provides a revision of the caviomorph systematics, and intends to be the starting point to understand the diversity (in all its aspects) and the evolution of this group during the Santacrucian, a major event in the South American mammalian history.

Key words. Santacrucian. Province of Santa Cruz. Hystricognathi. Taxonomy. Systematics. Biostratigraphy. Evolution.

Resumen. REVISIÓN DE LOS ROEDORES CAVIOMORFOS MIOCENOS DEL RÍO SANTA CRUZ (PATAGONIA ARGENTINA). Los roedores fósiles provenientes de localidades del Río Santa Cruz (RSC; Formación Santa Cruz, Mioceno Temprano–Medio) se conocen desde fines del siglo 19 y principios del 20, gracias a los trabajos de F. Ameghino y W.B. Scott. Sin embargo, no fueron estudiados a nivel integral desde ese momento. En este sentido, analizamos nuevos ejemplares recolectados en las barrancas del RSC (Santa Cruz, Argentina) durante los años 2013 y 2014 que cuentan con datos de procedencia estratigráfica y geográfica precisos. El estudio taxonómico permitió reconocer taxones previamente descriptos para el RSC, así como nuevos taxones conocidos en otras localidades santacrucenses o en localidades más antiguas de Patagonia (Colhuehuapense, Mioceno Temprano). Se corroboró un aumento en la riqueza taxonómica del conjunto de roedores del RSC. Como patrón evolutivo general, se observa un incremento de formas euhipsodontes derivadas (Prolagostomus, Pliolagostomus, Schistomys, Eocardia) en Segundas Barrancas Blancas (16,47–15,3 Ma). A su vez, observamos un reemplazo taxonómico de Phanomys por Schistomys desde la localidad de Barrancas Blancas (17,21–16,3 Ma) a Segundas Barrancas Blancas y un notable aumento en la abundancia de Perimys onustus, la especie más grande del género, en esta última localidad. El presente estudio es una puesta al día de la sistemática de los caviomorfos del RSC y pretende ser el punto de partida para entender la diversidad y la evolución de los caviomorfos durante el Santacrucense, un periodo crucial en la historia de los mamíferos sudamericanos.

Palabras clave. Santacrucense. Provincia de Santa Cruz. Hystricognathi. Taxonomía. Sistemática. Bioestratigrafía. Evolución.


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