Recent expeditions in the northeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau have produced additional mammalian fossils from the Lower Baodean (equivalent to Vallesian, Late Miocene), and, significantly, a new large and the earliest muntjac, Muntiacus noringenensis sp. nov. It is phylogenetically closer to the Late Pliocene M. fenghoensis and extant M. vuqangensis than the other fossil and extant muntjacs are. The existence of this muntjac and other folivores in the Late Miocene Qaidam Basin suggests a forested period in the basin and the evolution from a forested and humid environment to a desert one today. Such a dramatic evolution in environments is an evidence of the effect of the uplift of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and of its influence on continental climates.
Muntiacus, Cervidae, Artiodactyla, Qaidam Basin, Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Late Miocene