Platygonus

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Platygonus
Temporal range: Pliocene to Holocene, 5–0.011Ma
Platygonus compressus Harvard.jpg
Platygonus compressus skeleton at Harvard University
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Tayassuidae
Genus: Platygonus
Le Conte, 1848
Species[1]
  • P. bicalcaratus
  • P. brachirostris
  • P. compressus (type)
  • P. intermedius
  • P. narinoensis
  • P. oregonensis
  • P. pearcei
  • P. pollenae
  • P. vetus

Platygonus ("flat head" in reference to the straight shape of the forehead)[2] is an extinct genus of herbivorous peccaries of the family Tayassuidae, endemic to North America from the Miocene through Pleistocene epochs (10.3 million to 11,000 years ago), existing for about 10.289 million years.[1]

Platygonus were gregarious animals and, like modern peccaries, possibly traveled in herds. At least nine known species of Platygonus are known and ranged from southern Canada to Mexico and from California to Pennsylvania. Stratigraphically, they occur throughout the Pleistocene (Calabrian), and as early as the Blancan in the Gelasian of the Pliocene. The most recent credible date obtained for some species remains is about 11,000 BP.[3]

Taxonomy[edit]

Platygonus was named by Leconte (1848). It was assigned to Tayassuidae by Le Conte (1848), Hoare et al. (1964) and Carroll (1988).

Morphology[edit]

Restoration
Platygonus compressus skull in The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Most Platygonus species were larger than modern peccaries, at around 1 m (3.3 ft) in body length, and had long legs, allowing them to run well. They also had a pig-like snout and long tusks which were probably used to fend off predators.[4] They had a complex digestive system, similar to that of a modern ruminant.

Body mass[edit]

Four specimens were examined by M. Mendoza for body mass, with the following estimations on weight:[5]

  • Specimen 1: 133.1 kg (290 lb)
  • Specimen 2: 162 kg (360 lb)
  • Specimen 3: 131 kg (290 lb)
  • Specimen 4: 116.6 kg (260 lb)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Platygonus in the Paleobiology Database. Retrieved July 2013.
  2. ^ "Peccary". Idaho Museum of Natural History. November 2002. Retrieved July 2013. 
  3. ^ Fiedal 2009, p. 21
  4. ^ Palmer 1999, p. 269
  5. ^ Mendoza, Janis & Palmqvist 2006[not in citation given]

References[edit]