Just out @ Palaeontologia Electronica
New species of Deinogalerix (Mammalia, Eulipotyphla) from the late Miocene of Scontrone (Abruzzo, central Italy)
Andrea Savorelli, Federico Masini, Paul P. A. Mazza, Maria Adelaide Rossi, and Silvano Agostini
Deinogalerix is a typical component of the late Miocene insular fauna of Gargano (south-eastern Italy). Remains of this taxon had also been found over the last 20 years at the early Tortonian site of Scontrone (Abruzzo, central Italy), but they had never been described in detail. Two new species are introduced. One of them, D. samniticus sp. nov., is larger sized and better documented, and received a formal description. The other entity is clearly distinct from D. samniticus sp. nov., but it is merely represented by a single mandible. It is therefore presented here as a different, but undetermined species, Deinogalerix sp. Comparative analyses show that the new species have exclusive dental proportions that distinguish them from all the other species of Deinogalerix and seem to exclude them from the direct ancestry of the Gargano clade. Consistent with its early stratigraphic age, D. samniticus sp. nov. bears a suite of primitive characters of the genus. Besides these, however, it also bears the autapomorphic relative proportion between p3 and p4.
The analysis of the erinaceids from Scontrone supports the assumption that Deinogalerix presumably descended from a hypothetical early-middle Miocene ‘Parasorex- like’ galericine. On the other hand, it seems to rule out the supposed common ancestry of the giant Deinogalerix and the small gymnure Apulogalerix from Gargano. Because the presumed ancestor of Deinogalerix dates back to the early-middle Miocene, the study corroborates the asynchronous colonization of the Apulia Platform.
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