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A Gliriform Tooth from the Eocene of the Erlian Basin (Nei Mongol, China) and the Premolar Morphology of Anagalidan Mammals at a Crossroads

Published: 5 November 2020
 by  MDPI

Abstract: The middle Eocene in Nei Mongol (China) was an interval of profound faunal changes as regards the basal Glires and gliriform mammals in general. A major diversification of rodent lineages (ctenodactyloids) and more modern small-sized lagomorphs was accompanied by a decline of mimotonids (Gomphos and Mimolagus) and anagalids. The latter was an enigmatic group of basal Euarchontoglires endemic to China and Mongolia. Here, we describe the first anagalid tooth (a P4) from the Huheboerhe classic site in the Erlian Basin. The tooth, characterized by its unique morphology intermediate between mimotonids and anagalids is semihypsodont, has a single buccal root typical of mimotonids, a large paracone located anteriorly, and a nascent hypocone, characteristic of advanced anagalids. The new finding of neither an abundant nor speciose group suggests a greater diversity of anagalids in the Eocene of China. This discovery is important because it demonstrates the convergent adaptations in anagalids, possibly of ecological significance.
Keywords: Euarchontoglires / Anagalidae / dental morphology / Eocene / Irdinmanhan / Nei Mongol

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