|New Early and Middle Eocene artiodactyls from the Erlian Basin, Inner Mongolia, China
|Bai Bin; Jessica M. Theodor, Yuan-Qing Wang & Jin Meng
|Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Eocene artiodactyls from Asia were considered less diverse and abundant than the contemporary perissodactyls, especially in the Eocene faunas from the Mongolia Plateau and Central Asia. By contrast, artiodactyls are highly diverse and endemic from the Eocene deposits of Europe and North America. Here we report two new genera and three new species of small- to medium-sized artiodactyls preserved by fragmentary materials from the Early and Middle Eocene of the Erlian Basin, Inner Mongolia, China. Paraphenacodus gabuniai sp. nov. represents the first record of artiodactyls from Arshantan Asian Land Mammal Age, and shows some more primitive characters than Paraphenacodus solivagus from the Middle Eocene of the Zaysan Depression of Kazakhstan. Although Paraphenacodus with generally bunodont teeth shows some similarities with both Early Eocene Tsaganohyus from Mongolia and early cebochoerid Gervachoerus from Europe, its affinities with other artiodactyls remain obscure. Two new genera and species, Irdinodon bicuspidata gen. et sp. nov. and Aliusuellus laolii gen. et sp. nov., from the Irdinmanhan ALMA represent new taxa of Lantianiinae and Tapirulidae, respectively. Irdinodon is characterized by twinned metaconules and entoconids on the upper and lower molars in lantianiines. Aliusuellus is characterized by a large size and a distinct ridge raised along the posterolingual side of the paracone to its apex on M2. These new artiodactyl materials from the Erlian Basin, as well as recently reported tapirulids and bunodont Erlianhyus, increase the diversity of the Eocene artiodactyls from the Mongolia Plateau, and provide new clues on the origin and dispersal of some early artiodactyls.