Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

A new large mammal from the Ypresian of Morocco: Evidence of surprising diversity of early proboscideans

Emmanuel Gheerbrant, Jean Sudre, Henri Cappetta, Mohamed Iarochéne, Mbarek Amaghzaz, and Baâdi Bouya

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 47 (3), 2002: 493-506

We describe a new primitive proboscidean, Daouitherium rebouli gen. et sp. nov., from the early Ypresian of the Ouled Abdoun Basin, Morocco, which also yielded Phosphatherium. It is the earliest known large mammal from Africa and one of the oldest known proboscideans. It has true lophodont molars similar to those of Barytherium and Numidotherium. It is closer to these genera and more advanced than Phosphatherium (e.g., morphology of the mandible), but it is also primitive in striking features known also in Phosphatherium (absence of diastema, retention of two additional teeth in front of p2). A parsimony analysis of Daouitherium suggests its intermediate phylogenetic position between the basal, small Phosphatherium and the large, more derived Numidotherium and Barytherium. Daouitherium is a better candidate for the ancestry of N. koholense than Phosphatherium, but it is also specialized. Daouitherium and Numidotherium may belong to the same basal radiation of "Barytherioidea". However, the family referral of Daouitherium is uncertain (Numidotheriidae?). The discovery of such a large and derived proboscidean with respect to Phosphatherium in the same African beds of such antiquity is evidence of an unexpected early diversity of proboscideans and of the old origin of the order. It also supports the African origin of Proboscidea s.s.

Key words: Mammalia, Proboscidea, early Eocene, Africa, Ouled Abdoun Basin, new taxa.

Emmanuel Gheerbrant [],Laboratoir e de Paléontologie (UMR 8569 du CNRS),Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 8 rue Buffon, F−75005 Paris, France (corresponding author); Jean Sudre and Henri Cappetta, Laboratoir e de Paléontologie (UMR 5554 du CNRS), Université Montpellier II,case courrier 064, Place Eugène Bataillon, F−34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France; Mohamed Iarochène, Dir ection de la Géologie, Minist ère de l’Energie et des Mines, BP6208 Rabat−Instituts, Morocco; Mbarek Amaghzaz and Baâdi Bouya, Groupe Office Chérifien des Phosphates, Centr e Minier de Khouribga, Service Géologique et Direction du Développement, Khouribga, Morocco.

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