INSTITUTO SUPERIOR DE CORRELACION GEOLOGICA
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Exceptional Late Pliocene Microvertebrate Diversity in Northwestern Argentina Reveals a Marked Small Mammals Turnover
ORTIZ, PABLO EDMUNDO; GARCÍA LÓPEZ, DANIEL ALFREDO; BABOT, MARÍA JUDITH; PARDIÑAS, ULYSES; ALONSO MURUAGA, PABLO JOAQUÍN; JAYAT, PABLO
PALAEOGEOGRAPHY PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY PALAEOECOLOGY
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2012 vol. 361 p. 21 - 21
Despite a century of paleontological work in Neogene sequences of northwestern Argentina there is still much to learn about the biotic diversity in this area during Pliocene times. We report a rich microvertebrate assemblage recovered from Late Pliocene deposits of Uquía Formation, Jujuy Province, northernmost Argentina. Taxa represented in the studied sample include members of Bufonidae (Amphibia: Anura), Iguanoidea (Reptilia: Squamata), Passeriformes (Aves), Argyrolagidae, Didelphidae, Caviidae, Ctenomyidae, Octodontidae, and Cricetidae (Mammalia). Taphonomic attributes indicate that the bone concentration was produced by owls. The remains were disposed highly concentrated suggesting that the assemblage would have been generated in a short lapse, indicating a low time-averaging, retaining the main ecological signals of the past living community. The studied assemblage is noteworthy because encompass at least four new genera of cricetid rodents, illustrating the oldest record in northwestern Argentina for this diverse family of mammals. In spite of clear taxonomic differences at specific and generic levels, the structure of the assemblage is ecologically comparable to modern small mammal communities, with a dominance of cricetids over marsupials and caviomorph rodents. Striking differences in taxonomic composition between the Uquian assemblage and the coeval record from central Argentina indicate biogeographical distinctions since the Late Pliocene. The new Uquian cricetids show that the early divergence times for phyllotine genera proposed by several authors can not be supported. The dominance of phyllotines in the assemblage as well as the record of Microcavia and an octodontid similar to Neophanomys allow inferring arid or semiarid paleoenvironment conditions, in a more or less open habitat. The studied assemblage reflects a noteworthy faunal turnover, which implies the establishment of cricetid rodents as the dominant group in the small mammal communities. This faunal change can be associated to increasing aridity during Late Pliocene worldwide.