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Plagiomenids (Mammalia: ?Dermoptera) from the Oligocene of Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota, and middle Eocene of northwestern Wyoming

By
Malcolm C. McKenna
Malcolm C. McKenna
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Published:
January 01, 1990

Two new genera and species of plagiomenids (Mammalia, ?Dermoptera, Plagiomenidae) are described from the North American Uintan (middle Eocene) and Chadronian (early Oligocene). A third genus and species, Ekgmowechashala philotau, from the early and middle Arikareean (late Oligocene) of the northern United States, is removed from the primate family Omomyidae and placed in the Plagiomenidae. All three newly recognized plagiomenids are placed in the Ekgmowechashalinae, sister subfamily to the subfamily Plagiomeninae (new rank). Ekgmowechashaline plagiomenids are somewhat primate-like, as is the plagiomenine genus Worlandia, but the Plagiomenidae are usually considered to be allied to the living colugos of southeast Asia, order Dermoptera. Analysis of that relationship is placed outside the scope of this paper.

Tarka stylifera, the earliest known ekgmowechashaline, occurs in the type section of the Tepee Trail Formation, early Uintan (Shoshonian: late medial Eocene) of northwestern Wyoming. This locality falls in paleomagnetic Chron C20R, interpreted to be close to 47.5 Ma in age. A second, more primitive but later-occurring ekgmowechashaline genus and species, Tarkadectes montanensis, is from a nominally early Oligocene level (Chadronian) in the Kishenehn Formation of northern Montana. Ekgmowechashala is known from lower dentitions from the early Arikareean Sharps Formation of South Dakota and probably from an upper dentition reported from middle Arikareean rocks in the John Day Formation of Oregon. Ekgmowechashala is placed with the other two genera because of lower cheek-tooth morphology, but it lacks the enlarged incisor of Tarka. Ekgmowechashalines are hypothesized here to be primarily frugivores, folivores, and nectar- and exudate-feeders.

Until now, known undoubted plagiomenids were restricted to the Paleocene and early Eocene (Wasatchian). The newly recognized post-Wasatchian occurrences are all in the northern part of the United States and are in keeping with previously known plagiomenid geographic distribution, which ranged from northern Wyoming to the Canadian arctic and possibly beyond.

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GSA Special Papers

Dawn of the Age of Mammals in the northern part of the Rocky Mountain Interior, North America

Thomas M. Bown
Thomas M. Bown
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Kenneth D. Rose
Kenneth D. Rose
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Geological Society of America
Volume
243
ISBN print:
9780813722436
Publication date:
January 01, 1990

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