Early Quaternary history of the genus Archidiskodon (Proboscidea, Elephantidae) in Western Siberia: to the question of intermediate links in mammoth lineage

I.V. Foronova

Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS, 2018, 322(3): 241–258  ·  https://doi.org/10.31610/trudyzin/2018.322.3.241

Full text  

Abstract

The paper is concerned with the early representatives of the Archidiskodon–Mammuthus lineage from the sediments of Lower Pleistocene of the South of Western Siberia (Kuznetsk Basin). Several forms were being described within the genus Archidiskodon (A. meridionalis, A. m. tamanensis, A. m. voigtstedtensis, A. aff. wusti) which represent consecutive steps of progressive development of the lineage on the early stage of its evolution. Morphometric features of molars (M3) have been studied using the author’s original method designed for this group, which allowed specifying systematic attribution of the taxa under study and their position in the structure of the mammoth lineage. It was demonstrated that the form previously distinguished as Wust’s elephant and later attributed to the species M. trogontherii significantly differs from the latter in frequency and length of the plates. This form also stands out well statistically and is regarded as a separate and the latest taxon among the Archidiskodon group of elephants. A. wusti occupies a distinct position of an intermediate form (a ‘bridge’ as H. Pohlig put it) between the genera Archidiskodon and Mammuthus in the structure of the mammoth lineage. Thus, the multi-dimensional diagrams used in our method permit to take a step close to revealing of so-called intermediate links in the mammoth lineage. Direction of phyletic development and some adaptations of the group in the second half of Early Pleistocene are also discussed. Account is also given to the accompanying fauna and the existence period of these species on the territory under study.

Key words

Archidiskodon, biostratigraphy, Early Pleistocene, Kuznetsk Basin, lineage, molars, Western Siberia

Submitted July 5, 2018  ·  Accepted September 2, 2018  ·  Published September 26, 2018

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