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Article: An unpredicted ancient colonization of the West Indies by North American rodents: dental evidence of a geomorph from the early Oligocene of Puerto Rico

Papers in Palaeontology - Volume 7 Issue 1 - Cover
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 7
Part: 4
Publication Date: November 2021
Page(s): 2021 2039
Author(s): Laurent Marivaux, Jorge Vélez-Juarbe, Lázaro W. Viñola López, Pierre-Henri Fabre, François Pujos, Hernán Santos-Mercado, Eduardo J. Cruz, Alexandra M. Grajales Pérez, James Padilla, Kevin I. Vélez-Rosado, Jean-Jacques Cornée, Mélody Philippon, Philippe Münch, and Pierre-Olivier Antoine
DOI: 10.1002/spp2.1388
Addition Information

How to Cite

MARIVAUX, L., VéLEZ-JUARBE, J., LóPEZ, L.W.V., FABRE, P.H., PUJOS, F., SANTOS-MERCADO, H., CRUZ, E.J., PéREZ, A.M.G., PADILLA, J., VéLEZ-ROSADO, K.I., CORNéE, J.J., PHILIPPON, M., MüNCH, P., ANTOINE, P.O. 2021. . Papers in Palaeontology, 7, 4, 2021-2039. DOI: /doi/10.1002/spp2.1388

Author Information

  • Laurent Marivaux - Laboratoire de Paléontologie Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution de Montpellier (ISE-M, UMR 5554, CNRS/UM/IRD/EPHE), c.c. 064 Université de Montpellier (UM) Place Eugène Bataillon F-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05 France
  • Jorge Vélez-Juarbe - Department of Mammalogy Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County 900 Exposition Boulevard Los Angeles CA 90007 USA
  • Lázaro W. Viñola López - Florida Museum of Natural History University of Florida Gainesville FL 32611-7800 USA
  • Pierre-Henri Fabre - Laboratoire de Paléontologie Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution de Montpellier (ISE-M, UMR 5554, CNRS/UM/IRD/EPHE), c.c. 064 Université de Montpellier (UM) Place Eugène Bataillon F-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05 France
  • Pierre-Henri Fabre - Vertebrate Division The Natural History Museum Cromwell Road, South Kensington London SW7 5BD UK
  • François Pujos - Instituto Argentino de Nivología, Glaciología y Ciencias Ambientales (IANIGLA) CCT–CONICET–Mendoza Avda. Ruiz Leal s/n, Parque Gral. San Martín 5500 Mendoza Argentina
  • Hernán Santos-Mercado - Department of Geology University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus, PO Box 9017 Mayagüez 00681 Puerto Rico
  • Eduardo J. Cruz - Department of Geology University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus, PO Box 9017 Mayagüez 00681 Puerto Rico
  • Alexandra M. Grajales Pérez - Department of Geology University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus, PO Box 9017 Mayagüez 00681 Puerto Rico
  • James Padilla - Department of Geology University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus, PO Box 9017 Mayagüez 00681 Puerto Rico
  • Kevin I. Vélez-Rosado - Museum of Paleontology & Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences University of Michigan 1109 Geddes Avenue Ann Arbor MI 48109 USA
  • Jean-Jacques Cornée - Géosciences Montpellier (UMR 5243, CNRS/UM/Université des Antilles), c.c. 060 Université de Montpellier (UM) Place Eugène Bataillon F-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05 France
  • Jean-Jacques Cornée - Géosciences Montpellier (UMR 5243, Université des Antilles/CNRS/UM) Université des Antilles Campus de Fouillole F-97159 Pointe-à-Pitre Cedex Guadeloupe
  • Mélody Philippon - Géosciences Montpellier (UMR 5243, Université des Antilles/CNRS/UM) Université des Antilles Campus de Fouillole F-97159 Pointe-à-Pitre Cedex Guadeloupe
  • Philippe Münch - Géosciences Montpellier (UMR 5243, CNRS/UM/Université des Antilles), c.c. 060 Université de Montpellier (UM) Place Eugène Bataillon F-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05 France
  • Pierre-Olivier Antoine - Laboratoire de Paléontologie Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution de Montpellier (ISE-M, UMR 5554, CNRS/UM/IRD/EPHE), c.c. 064 Université de Montpellier (UM) Place Eugène Bataillon F-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05 France

Publication History

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    Abstract

    The West Indies are a natural laboratory for the study of biogeography and evolution, especially for mammals. The modality of their arrival in the Caribbean islands is a highly controversial issue, and palaeontological evidence remains particularly elusive. Lower Oligocene deposits of Puerto Rico (c. 29.5 Ma) have recently yielded the oldest archipelago rodents, with teeth of two chinchilloid caviomorphs of South American origin. Here we report the discovery of additional dental remains from the same level, testifying to the occurrence of another rodent group. Their morphology is singular but otherwise characteristic of North/Central American geomyin geomorphs (including extant kangaroo rats, pocket mice, and pocket gophers), and leads us to propose here a new taxon: Caribeomys merzeraudi gen. et sp. nov. The evidence of geomorphs in the West Indies challenges the view that all extinct and extant Antillean rodents derived from South American sources. The morphological singularity of this Puerto Rican geomorph also suggests an early split of this insular lineage from coeval mainland counterparts, and its dispersal towards the West Indies sometime around the Eocene–Oligocene transition. This unexpected rodent adds to the few cases of Antillean terrestrial vertebrates of North American origins, such as solenodonotan eulipotyphlans. In the absence of subaerial land connections between both landmasses, an overwater dispersal may explain mid-Palaeogene colonization of the West Indies by geomorph rodents.

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