New Data on the Oxyaenidae from the Early Eocene of Europe; biostratigraphic, paleobiogeographic and paleoecologic implications
The locality of Le Quesnoy (France; MP7) has yielded a diversified mammal fauna including especially large mammals. Oxyaenidae are well documented with two species identified: Oxyaena woutersi and Palaeonictis gigantea. The Le Quesnoy material illustrates almost the entire dentition of these species. Its study supports the generic attribution of Oxyaena woutersi. Its M2 is more secant than in the primitive Dipsalidictis, but the M1 appears to be slightly less secant than in the earliest species of Oxyaena. Oxyaena woutersi is a morphological intermediate between the Clarkforkian-Wasatchian Dipsalidictis and the Wasatchian Oxyaena. The M2 of Palaeonictis gigantea is compared to the sole known molar of Dormaalodon woutersi. Dormaalodon is here demonstrated to be a junior synonym of Palaeonictis. Several postcranial elements of Oxyaena woutersi and Palaeonictis gigantea are described: they are the first described for European oxyaenids. The oxyaenid species from Le Quesnoy and Dormaal show a close affinity and support an age very close to MP7 for Le Quesnoy. The Le Quesnoy oxyaenids are morphologically close to the North American species of Wa0, which supports correlation with this level. We revised the European Oxyaenidae previously described from younger localities. Fossils from Meudon, Sinceny and Abbey Wood (MP8+9) are referred to Oxyaena sp. A North American origin of the Oxyaenidae is confirmed. Our study supports a single dispersal event of oxyaenids from North America to Europe followed by a short endemic local evolution. Oxyaenidae rapidly disappeared from Europe. This disappearance could support the distinction between the MP7 and MP8+9 reference levels.
KEY WORDS: Creodonta; Oxyaenidae; Le Quesnoy; Europe; Eocene; MP7
PE Article Number: 14.2.13A
Copyright: Palaeontological Association July 2011
Submission: 22 October 2010. Acceptance: 8 April 2011