Just out | Making a giant rodent: cranial anatomy and ontogenetic development in the genus Isostylomys (Mammalia, Hystricognathi, Dinomyidae) @ Journal of Systematic Palaeontology

Just out @ Journal of Systematic Palaeontology


South American giant fossil rodents represent a notable example of an extreme evolutionary trend towards size differentiation among caviomorph lineages. Although spectacular, fossil remains of these animals are uncommon and usually highly incomplete. We here describe fully grown adult and juvenile fossil specimens from the rodent family Dinomyidae Alston, 1876, collected from the same location, lithostratigraphical formation and fossiliferous horizon: the coast of the Río de la Plata of southern Uruguay in pelitic sediments assigned to the late Miocene Camacho Formation. The adult remains consist of an almost complete skull with partial jaw and represent the first published description of associated craneo-mandibular remains of a giant rodent within the subfamily Eumegamyinae. The juvenile specimen is the first to be recognized as such for the entire subfamily, and consists of a complete mandible and a right calcaneus. Based on the homologies observed in the configuration of the teeth, the new specimens are assigned to Isostylomys laurillardi Kraglievich, 1926, thus demonstrating that the general morphology of the teeth (including the binding pattern) of Eumegamyinae remained unchanged throughout most of their growth. The dental ontogeny of large-sized rodents casts doubt on the validity of the subfamily Gyriabrinae, which may be composed of juveniles of different taxa within other subfamilies of Dinomyidae.

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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)