Sudamerica

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Sudamerica
Temporal range: Mid Paleocene-Early Eocene (Peligran-Casamayoran)
~61.7–48.6 Ma
Sudamerica jaw.svg
Mandible with first and second molars
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Suborder: Gondwanatheria
Family: Sudamericidae
Genus: Sudamerica
Scillato-Yané & R. Pascual, 1984
Species: S. ameghinoi
Binomial name
Sudamerica ameghinoi
(Scillato-Yané & R. Pascual, 1984)
Sudamerica locale.svg
Location of Sudamerica discovery: Punta Peligro, Argentina

Sudamerica, literally "South America" in Spanish, is a genus of mammal from the extinct suborder Gondwanatheria that lived in Patagonia, Argentina (Salamanca Formation) and Antarctica (La Meseta Formation) from the Middle Paleocene (Peligran), just after the end of the "Age of Dinosaurs", to the Early Eocene (Casamayoran).[1]

Etymology[edit]

The genus and species were named by Scillato-Yané and R. Pascual in 1984. The genus is also known by the synonym Sudamericana and the species epithet ameghinoi refers to notable Argentinian paleontologist Florentino Ameghino.

Description[edit]

Similar to Gondwanatherium, this genus had high-crowned teeth, which are very useful for eating grasses. Since there is no evidence of grass in South America until later, they must also have been effective for other types of food.

Classification[edit]

The type specimen of Sudamerica ameghinoi was discovered in Punta Peligro, Argentina in deposits dating to the Lower Paleocene period. In 1999, a near complete lower jaw (dentary) was found.

The position of gondwanatherians within the class Mammalia is not yet clear.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Scillato-Yané, G.J. & Pascual, R.1985. Un peculiar Xenarthra del Paleoceno medio de Patagonia (Argentina). Su importancia en la sistemática de los Paratheria. Ameghiniana, 21: 316-318.
  • Malcolm C. McKenna and Susan K. Bell. (1997) "Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level". Columbia University Press. (ISBN 0-231-11012-X)
  • Much of this information has been derived from MESOZOIC MAMMALS: Gondwanatheria, an Internet directory.