The carnivorous mammalian fauna from the Uintan (late middle Eocene) of North America remains relatively poorly documented. This is unfortunate, as this is a critical interval in the transition from "creodont" to carnivoran dominated carnivore guilds. This study reports a new species from the Uinta Formation of the Uinta Basin, Utah, the first North American species of the otherwise Asian hyaenodont genus Propterodon. The new species, Propterodon witteri, represented by a dentary with M2-3 from the late Uintan Leota Quarry, is larger than the well-known P. morrisi and P. tongi and has a larger M3 talonid, but is otherwise very similar. A phylogenetic analysis of hyaenodont interrelationships recovers P. witteri as a hyaenodontine but is generally poorly resolved. A relationship between Hyaenodontinae and Oxyaenoides, recovered by many recent analyses, is not supported. Among the Asian species of Propterodon, P. pishigouensis is reidentified as a machaeroidine oxyaenid and recombined as Apataelurus pishigouensis new combination. Isphanatherium ferganensis may also represent an Asian machaeroidine. Identification of a North American species of Propterodon and an Asian Apataelurus increases the similarity of North American Uintan and Asian Irdinmanhan faunas and suggests that there was substantial exchange of carnivorous fauna during the late middle Eocene.
- Mammalian evolution
- North America
- Uinta formation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)