Just out | Astragali of Pakicetidae and other early-to-middle Eocene archaeocetes (Mammalia, Cetacea) of Pakistan: locomotion and habitat in the initial stages of whale evolution @ PalZ


Just out @ PalZ


Astragali of Pakicetidae and other early-to-middle Eocene archaeocetes (Mammalia, Cetacea) of Pakistan: locomotion and habitat in the initial stages of whale evolution


Author(s)

Philip D. Gingerich, Kurt Heissig, Ryan M. Bebej, Wighart von Koenigswald


Abstract:

Richard Dehm and colleagues of the Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie in Munich made an important collection of early-to-middle Eocene mammals at Ganda Kas in Pakistan during the winter of 1955/56. The genera and species Ichthyolestes pinfoldi and Gandakasia potens were named from this collection. Both are now recognized as early and primitive archaeocete cetaceans. In addition, Dehm’s group collected 16 complete or partial astragali of archaeocetes that were misidentified as artiodactyls. These bring the total number of archaeocete astragali known from Ganda Kas to 28. They separate clearly into four species distinguished by size: from smallest to largest Ichthyolestes pinfoldi Dehm and Oettingen-Spielberg, Pakicetus attocki (West), Gandakasia potens Dehm and Oettingen-Spielberg, and Ambulocetus natans Thewissen et al. Ganda Kas artiodactyls are smaller and rare in comparison. Ichthyolestes and Pakicetus are pakicetid archaeocetes, Gandakasia is presently indeterminate to family, and Ambulocetus is an ambulocetid. Tooth size and astragalus size are highly correlated, corroborating reference of astragali to the first three archaeocete taxa based on teeth. Multivariate morphometric comparison (Auto3Dgm) shows that pakicetid astragali overlap almost completely in shape with those of early artiodactyls. Middle Eocene protocetid astragali are divergent from both. Retention of an astragalus indistinguishable from that of artiodactyls shows that pakicetids are closely related to artiodactyls phylogenetically, but does not make Ichthyolestes and Pakicetus terrestrial or cursorial. Other skeletal elements and bone microstructure indicate that pakicetids were semiaquatic like later protocetids. Tropical riverine and marginal marine facies of the Kuldana Formation are likely habitats for initial stages of the transition from terrestrial artiodactyls to semiaquatic and fully aquatic archaeocetes.


Keywords: Eocene, Artiodactyla, Cetacea, Astragalus, Semiaquatic locomotion, Transition from land to sea


DOI: 10.1007/s12542-017-0362-8


READ IT HERE: https://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12542-017-0362-8


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Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)