Faculté des sciences et de médecine

To split or not to split Anthracotherium? A phylogeny of Anthracotheriinae (Cetartiodactyla: Hippopotamoidea) and its palaeobiogeographical implications

Scherler, Laureline ; Lihoreau, Fabrice ; Becker, Damien

In: Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2019, vol. 185, no. 2, p. 487–510

Since its first erection almost 200 years ago, palaeontologists have assigned to the genus Anthracotherium many species, some with dubious descriptions. Although it is a key taxon for specifying the invasion of Europe by terrestrial mammals during the well-studied Grande Coupure Event at the beginning of the Oligocene, the genus has never been reviewed before. A recent interest in the... Plus

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    Summary
    Since its first erection almost 200 years ago, palaeontologists have assigned to the genus Anthracotherium many species, some with dubious descriptions. Although it is a key taxon for specifying the invasion of Europe by terrestrial mammals during the well-studied Grande Coupure Event at the beginning of the Oligocene, the genus has never been reviewed before. A recent interest in the relationships of anthracotheres and hippopotamids highlighted its importance for the understanding of diversity of anthracotheres. Herein, we conduct a systematic review of most European anthracotheriine species, including some Asian and American species in order to establish a more exhaustive anthracotheriine phylogeny. A cladistic analysis focusing on anthracotheriines supports us in redefining and clarifying the systematic status of most genera and species of this subfamily. Furthermore, our study results in the division of Anthracotherium into two different genera, the definition of a new taxon, Paenanthracotherium gen. nov., and the creation of a new species from previously described material, Paenanthracotherium bergeri sp. nov. Additionally, our phylogeny suggests a new palaeogeographical scenario implying several dispersal events from Asia to Europe before and during the Grande Coupure Event. This study marks the first step to a much-needed global review of anthracotheriines, including the American and Asian specimens.