INSTITUTO ARGENTINO DE NIVOLOGIA, GLACIOLOGIA Y CIENCIAS AMBIENTALES
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Cranial osteology and taxonomy of Pronothrotherium (Xenarthra, Folivora, Nothrotheriidae) from the late Miocene ? early Pliocene of Catamarca Province (Argentina)
BOSCAINI, ALBERTO; TUCKNISS, SUSAN; DE IULLIS, GERARDO; GAUDIN, TIMOTHY; PUJOS, FRANCOIS
PUBLICACIÓN ELECTRÓNICA DE LA ASOCIACIÓN PALEONTOLÓGICA ARGENTINA
Asociación paleontológica argentina
Lugar: Buenos Aires; Año: 2020 vol. 20 p. 55 - 82
Pronothrotherium typicum is a late Miocene-early Pliocene (Huayquerian-Chapadmalalan SALMA) nothrotheriid sloth known from the Catamarca Province of northwestern Argentina. Pronothrotherium is one of four nothrotheriid genera known from relatively complete skeletal material, but unlike the other three, the osteology of Pronothrotherium has not been formally described. The present study provides the first detailed description and illustration of the cranial anatomy of Pronothrotherium, based largely on a nearly complete, subadult skull of P. typicum from the collections of The Field Museum (Chicago, Illinois, USA), as well as a less well-preserved adult skull and isolated mandible from the same collections. A revised cranial diagnosis of P. typicum is provided in the text. The skull of this species shows a number of distinctive features, most notably a peculiar vomerine keel in the nasopharynx, terminating in a swollen knob, that is, as far we know, a unique morphology among mammals. Based on the results of the present study, there appears to be reason to recognize two contemporaneous species of Pronothrotherium, P. typicum and P. mirabilis, although the latter is less well supported. We do not accept the validity of a third described species, P. figueirasi, considering it instead to be synonymous with P. mirabilis. The present study does not resolve the uncertain phylogenetic relationships among the well-preserved nothrotheriine taxa Pronothrotherium, Mionothropus (late Miocene), and the two Pleistocene genera in Nothrotheriini, Nothrotherium and Nothrotheriops. However, we hope that the data provided will facilitate subsequent phylogenetic studies that may resolve these issues.