, Volume 99, Issue 6, pp 449–463 | Cite as

Persistence of a Mesozoic, non-therian mammalian lineage (Gondwanatheria) in the mid-Paleogene of Patagonia

  • Francisco J. GoinEmail author
  • Marcelo F. Tejedor
  • Laura Chornogubsky
  • Guillermo M. López
  • Javier N. Gelfo
  • Mariano Bond
  • Michael O. Woodburne
  • Yamila Gurovich
  • Marcelo Reguero
Original Paper


We describe two isolated molariforms recovered from early–middle Eocene (early Lutetian) levels of northwestern Patagonia, Argentina. Comparisons with major lineages of therian and non-therian mammals lead us to refer them to a new genus and species of Gondwanatheria (Allotheria). There is a single root supporting each tooth that is very short, wide, rounded, and covered by cementum; the steep sidewalls, lack of a neck between the crown and root, and the heavily worn stage in both molariforms suggest that they were of a protohypsodont type. Both teeth are strongly worn at their centers, all along their length, with the labial edge less worn than the lingual; they show strong transverse crests that alternate with lingual grooves. The protohypsodont aspect of the teeth, as well as the strong, transverse crests, are suggestive of sudamericid affinities; on the other hand, the thin enamel layer and the occlusal pattern formed by the crests and grooves shows more similarities to molariform teeth of the Ferugliotheriidae. The new taxon adds evidence regarding the (1) extensive radiation of the Gondwanatheria throughout the Southern Hemisphere, (2) persistence of several lineages well after the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary, and (3) early evolution of hypsodont types among South American herbivorous mammals.


Gondwanatheria South America Paleogene Eocene Hypsodonty 



Andesitas Huancache Formation


enamel-dentine junction


Ignimbrita Barda Colorada Formation


interprismatic matrix


Vertebrate Paleontology Collection, Laboratorio de Investigaciones en Evolución y Biodiversidad, Esquel






Sección Paleontología Vertebrados, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, Buenos Aires, Vertebrate Paleontology, Río Negro Collection


upper molariform


División Paleontología Vertebrados, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo de La Plata (UNLP), La Plata




outer enamel surface


prismless outer enamel


South American Land-Mammal Age


South American native ungulates


Tufolitas Laguna del Hunco Formation


Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia “San Juan Bosco”, sede Esquel


microns (micrometers)



We thank Gabriel M. Martin, Leonardo Avilla, Ariel Humai, Constanza Koefoed, María Luisa Pemberton, and Érika Abrantes for their assistance in the fieldwork at La Barda and in the laboratory; Marcela Tomeo for the figures that illustrate this work; Carolina Vieytes and Rafael Urréjola for the scanning electron micrographs; discussions with Carolina were also very helpful while considering the enamel microstructure of Greniodon. To Alejandro Kramarz for facilitating the MACN (Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, Buenos Aires) gondwanatherian collections for their study; Juan J. Molly for making casts of the new specimens. Editors of Naturwissenschaften, Dr. David Krause, and two anonymous reviewers provided numerous, useful comments to the original manuscript. FJG, MFT, and LC thank CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina, PIP 5621 and PIP 0361) for its financial support in the lab and in the field. FJG thanks the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco J. Goin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marcelo F. Tejedor
    • 2
  • Laura Chornogubsky
    • 3
  • Guillermo M. López
    • 4
  • Javier N. Gelfo
    • 1
  • Mariano Bond
    • 1
  • Michael O. Woodburne
    • 5
  • Yamila Gurovich
    • 6
  • Marcelo Reguero
    • 1
  1. 1.CONICET and División Paleontología VertebradosMuseo de La PlataLa PlataArgentina
  2. 2.CONICET and Centro Nacional PatagónicoPuerto MadrynArgentina
  3. 3.CONICET and Sección Paleontología VertebradosMuseo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”Buenos AiresArgentina
  4. 4.División Paleontología VertebradosMuseo de La PlataLa PlataArgentina
  5. 5.Department of Geology, Museum of Northern ArizonaFlagstaffUSA
  6. 6.School of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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