Tapiridae (Perissodactyla, Mammalia) of the Swiss Molasse Basin during the Oligocene-Miocene transition

Scherler, Laureline ; Becker, Damien ; Berger, Jean-Pierre

In: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 2011, vol. 31, no. 2, p. 479—496

The Tapiridae of the Swiss Molasse Basin from the late Oligocene to the early Miocene are reviewed. Fossil remains that have not previously been described are identified, old descriptions and identifications from previous works are reassessed, and specimens from Switzerland and France are compared, specifically Protapirus bavaricus from Ebnat-Kappel (MP28) and Rüfi bei Schänis (MP29),... Plus

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    Summary
    The Tapiridae of the Swiss Molasse Basin from the late Oligocene to the early Miocene are reviewed. Fossil remains that have not previously been described are identified, old descriptions and identifications from previous works are reassessed, and specimens from Switzerland and France are compared, specifically Protapirus bavaricus from Ebnat-Kappel (MP28) and Rüfi bei Schänis (MP29), Protapirus aginensis from La Milloque (France, MP29), Protapirus douvillei from Buchberg 6 (MN4), Paratapirus helvetius from Haslen (Switzerland, MP28-30), Paratapirus intermedius from Saulcet (France, MN1), Höhronen (MN1), and Brüttelen 1 (MN3a), and Eotapirus broennimanni from Wischberg (MN1) and Benken (MN3-4?). These new data enable emended specific diagnoses for Protapirus bavaricus, P. aginensis, and P. douvillei. A late Oligocene (MP28-30) age for the locality of Haslen—the neotype locality of Paratapirus helvetius—is also attributed, based upon the literature and personal observations. Furthermore, a new and precise biostratigraphic range of the European Tapiridae at the species level is proposed for the Oligocene and early Miocene of Western Europe. The paleoecology of tapirs and their diversity and evolution through the Oligocene-Miocene transition are discussed and compared with contemporaneous large mammals such as Rhinocerotoidea, Anthracotheriidae, and Suoidea.