MUSEO ARGENTINO DE CIENCIAS NATURALES "BERNARDINO RIVADAVIA"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
NEW SABERTOOTHED CAT RECORDS (FELIDAEMACHAIRODONTINAE) FOR THE PLEISTOCENE OF VENEZUELA, AND THE GREAT AMERICAN BIOTIC INTERCHANGE
RINCÓN, A. D.; PREVOSTI, F. J.; PARRAS, G. E
JOURNAL OF VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY
SOC VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY
Año: 2011 p. 468 - 468
The Machairodontinae fossil record in South America is not very diverse. Until now, only the genus Smilodon(Smilodontini) has been reported, with likely a single species, S. populator. A second taxon ofMachairodontinae was referredto Homotheriini and to the genus Xenosmilus, but the age to which it was assigned, early to middle Pleistocene, is uncertain,because it was recovered out of stratigraphic context. At present, the Venezuelan saber-toothed cat record is limited to thelate Pleistocene, and consists of fossils found in Mene de Inciarte (state of Zulia), and from Zumbador cave deposit in thestate of Falc ´ on. Here we report a new species of Machairodontinae Homotherium venezuelensis, nov. sp., as well as the firstrecord of Smilodon gracilis in South America. Both were found in El Breal de Orocual, a tar seep in the state of Monagas,northeastern Venezuela. The age of the deposit has been interpreted as early to middle Pleistocene by thermoluminescencedating. We have been able to identify 30 vertebrate taxa, suggesting a paleoenvironment similar to the Venezuelan llanostoday: an extensive savanna with rivers and patches of gallery forest. The saber-toothed cats described here demonstrate thatthe biogeography of Neotropical felids is more complex than previously thought, and allow us to identify new invasions anddelimit the times during which they occurred. The fossils from Orocual represent the first record of Homotherium for SouthAmerica, indicating that scimitar-toothed cats invaded this continent as early as the earlymiddle Pleistocene.