The discovery of a propotamochoerine suid with unique features of the dentition and skull led to the naming of Molarochoerus yuanmouensis Liu & Pan. Further study of the material reveals that this species was better adapted than Sus scrofa for the ‘rooting’ behaviour and that its dentition has morphological features indicating that it was eating hard food items. The posterior premolars are completely molarised, hence the generic name, the first time that any suid has been shown to possess almost perfectly molariform P4/s and p/4s. In lateral view the curvature of the occlusal surface of the upper cheek teeth is convex ventrally, the opposite of the usual situation in suids. The origins of the rostral musculature are exceptionally well developed, and the nasal bones are much more robust than is usually the case in Suinae, indicating powerful musculature and fortified osseous structures presumably for ‘rooting’ in hard ground or for extended periods of time. The masseteric musculature appears to have been more massive than it is in Sus, Microstonyx and Propotamochoerus.
Yuanmou, Yunnan, Chine, Miocène supérieur, Suidés, Propotamochoerini