Project 3130: J. Boisserie, G. Suwa, B. Asfaw, F. Lihoreau, R. L. Bernor, S. Katoh, Y. Beyene. 2017. Basal hippopotamines from the upper Miocene of Chorora, Ethiopia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 37 (3):e1297718.
Specimen: Hexaprotodon (unvouchered)
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The Hippopotamidae have been a major component of the African wetland fauna for the last 7 million years, following the ‘Hippopotamine Event,’ i.e., the sudden emergence in the fossil record of the subfamily Hippopotaminae, including both extant species. The general dearth of African fossiliferous deposits dated between 9.5 Ma and 7.5 Ma concealed until now the evolution that led to the Hippopotamine Event and the subsequent success of these large semiaquatic herbivores. Part of this evolution is unveiled by the hippopotamid dental remains found at Chorora, a late Miocene site of the southern Afar Depression in Ethiopia spanning most of the fossil-depleted time interval. Although fragmentary, these remains represent a new, mid-sized hippopotamid species dated to ca. 8 Ma, as well as a somewhat younger, larger form. A cladistic analysis of a large array of cetartiodactyls indicates that the Chorora taxa were basal to the latest Miocene hippopotamines. The new species displays a mosaic of dental characters that support the attribution of the new species to a new genus within Hippopotaminae. The new fossils also clarify the course of early hippopotamine dental evolution. The Chorora hippopotamids suggest that transition to a marked abundance of hippopotamines with their unique dental pattern in African ecosystems occurred within a relatively short time interval, most probably between 8 Ma and 7.5 Ma.

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Article DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2017.1297718

Project DOI: 10.7934/P3130,
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MorphoBank Project 3130
  • Creation Date:
    09 March 2018
  • Publication Date:
    09 March 2018
  • Project views: 6478

    Authors' Institutions

    • Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Sanda, Hyōgo Prefecture

    • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)

    • Howard University

    • Université de Poitiers (University of Poitiers)

    • Universite de Montpellier

    • University of Tokyo

    • Rift Valley Research Service

    • Association for Conservation of Culture Awassa


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