A new dugong species (Sirenia, Dugongidae) from the Eocene of Catalonia (NE Iberian Peninsula)

Jordi BALAGUER & David M. ALBA

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 15 (5) - Pages 489-500

Published on 30 June 2016

A new stem dugongid species, Prototherium ausetanum sp. nov. (Dugongidae, Halitheriinae), is described based on a cranium from the middle Eocene of Mas Vilageliu (Tona, NE Iberian Peninsula). The new species displays a combination of features that enables its distinction from other halitheriines, including Prototherium veronense (type species of the genus), Prototherium ? intermedium (which likely belongs to a different genus), and Prototherium? montserratense (here considered a nomen dubium), as well as Eotheroides spp. In overall morphology (e.g., dolichocephaly) the new species more closely resembles species previously included in Prototherium. However, a cladistic analysis based on craniodental features recovers the new species as the sister taxon of Eotheroides aegyptiacum (type species of this genus), further constituting a polytomy with P. veronense, Eotheroides lambondrano and the remaining Halitheriinae. Our analysis further indicates that P.? intermedium is more derived than other species of Prototherium, but it does not conclusively resolve the phylogenetic relationships between the included species of Prototherium and Eotheroides. A deeper taxonomic revision of these two genera would be required in order to better resolve the phylogeny of early dugongids.


Fossil sirenians, Halitheriinae, Prototherium , New species, Spain

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