Astrapotherium

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Astrapotherium
Temporal range: Early-Mid Miocene (Colhuehuapian-Colloncuran)
~21.0–15.7 Ma
Astrapotherium magnum Skull.jpg
Skull
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Astrapotheria
Family: Astrapotheriidae
Genus: Astrapotherium
Burmeister 1879
Type species
Astrapotherium magnum
Owen 1853
Species
  • A. burmeisteri Mercerat, 1891
  • A. guillei Kramarz et al. 2019[1]
  • A. magnum Owen, 1853
  • A. ruderarium Ameghino, 1902
Synonyms

Level genus

  • Listriotherium Mercerat 1891
  • Mesembriotherium Moreno 1882
  • Xylotherium Mercerat 1891

For A. burmeisteri

  • Astrapotherium giganteum Ameghino, 1891
  • Astrapotherium delimitatum Ameghino, 1891

For A. magnum

  • Astrapotherium columnatum Ameghino, 1891
  • Astrapotherium nanum Ameghino, 1891
  • Astrapotherium karaikense Ameghino, 1904b
  • Astrapodon carinatus Ameghino, 1891

For A. ruderarium

  • Parastrapotherium paucum Ameghino 1902
  • Parastrapotherium crassum (partim) Ameghino 1902
  • Astrapothericulus minusculus Ameghino 1902
  • Astrapothericulus laevisculus Ameghino 1902
  • Astrapotherium triangulidens Ameghino 1902
  • Prochalicotherium patagonicum Ameghino 1902

Astrapotherium ("Lightning Beast") is an extinct genus of South American mammal which vaguely resembled a cross between a small elephant, and a very large tapir. This peculiar-looking animal was unrelated to elephants or tapirs, and was instead related to other extinct South American ungulates. The beast lived in the Early to Middle Miocene.[2] Fossil remains of the type species A. magnus ("Great Lightning Beast") have been found in the Santa Cruz Formation in Argentina. Other fossils have been found in the Deseado, Sarmiento and Aisol Formations of Argentina and Chile (Cura-Mallín Group).[2]

Description[edit]

Restoration

Astrapotherium had an elongated body, with a total length of about 2.5 metres (8.2 ft), a weight of nearly 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb), and relatively short limbs. It had small plantigrade feet, and the hind limbs were significantly weaker than the fore limbs. Its four canine teeth were elongated to form short tusks, and it had broad protruding lower incisors which likely ground against a horny pad in the upper jaw, as in many modern ruminants.[3]

The nostrils were placed high on the head, which might indicate the presence of a trunk, but could equally be due to other reasons, such as an inflatable nasal cavity.

Classification[edit]

Restoration of the head by Robert Bruce Horsfall

Cladogram based in the phylogenetic analysis published by Vallejo-Pareja et al., 2015, showing the position of Astrapotherium:[4]

Eoastrapostylops

Trigonostylops

Tetragonostylops

Albertogaudrya

Scaglia

Astraponotus

Maddenia

Comahuetherium

Parastrapotherium

Astrapotheriinae

Astrapotherium

Astrapothericulus

Uruguaytheriinae

Uruguaytherium

Hilarcotherium

Xenastrapotherium

Granastrapotherium

Paleobiology[edit]

Canine tooth at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin

The animal was probably at least partially aquatic, living in shallow water and feeding on marsh plants in a similar manner to a modern hippopotamus.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alejandro Kramarz; Alberto Garrido; Mariano Bond (2019). "Astrapotherium from the Middle Miocene Collón Cura Formation and the decline of astrapotheres in southern South America". Ameghiniana. in press.
  2. ^ a b Astrapotherium at Fossilworks.org
  3. ^ a b Palmer, Douglas, ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 248. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.
  4. ^ Vallejo-Pareja, M. C.; Carrillo, J. D.; Moreno-Bernal, J. W.; Pardo-Jaramillo, M.; Rodriguez-Gonzalez, D. F.; Muñoz-Duran, J. (January 2015). "Hilarcotherium castanedaii, gen. et sp. nov., a new Miocene astrapothere (Mammalia, Astrapotheriidae) from the Upper Magdalena Valley, Colombia" (PDF). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 35 (0): 1–10. doi:10.1080/02724634.2014.903960. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 July 2019 – via the Colombian Geological Survey.

External links[edit]