Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 96, Issue 3, pp 489–506 | Cite as

The Giraffidae of Maragheh and the identification of a new species of Honanotherium

  • Nikos SolouniasEmail author
  • Melinda Danowitz
Original Paper


Giraffids were important components of the late Miocene Maragheh mammalian community. We provide detailed cranial and post-cranial morphological descriptions of six Maragheh giraffids, including Helladotherium duvernoyi, Alcicephalus neumayri, Samotherium boissieri, Samotherium major, Palaeotragus coelophrys and Bohlinia attica, extending the geological range of several taxa. We also describe a new species of Honanotherium (Honanotherium bernori), a taxon smaller than Honanotherium schlosseri. This is the westernmost occurrence of Honanotherium. We create our giraffid faunal list by first identifying each Maragheh specimen to a species, creating a representative specimen/species list. Subsequently, each specimen is described by comparing the Maragheh elements with the corresponding specimens from the type locality where each species is originally known. This method allows for accurate species identifications, and facilitates palaeoecological comparisons between multiple localities using morphological differences in the taxa. For palaeoecology, we evaluate and analyse the dentition of a few adult Maragheh giraffids using combined inner and outer mesowear variables, and find individuals spanning the dietary continuum, but with a polarity towards browsing diets. We describe limb differences among the Palaeotraginae, describe dental and limb similarities between Helladotherium duvernoyi and species of Bohlininae, and discuss the ossicones of Bohlininae. We provide comprehensive and detailed anatomical descriptions of seven giraffid taxa that can facilitate future species identifications and comparisons.


Giraffidae Honanotherium Maragheh Metapodials Astragali 

Institutional abbreviations


American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA


Geomuseum of the WWU, Münster, Germany


Hezheng Paleozoological Museum, Hezheng, China


Muze Melli Tarikh Tabiei, Tehran, Iran


Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France


Natural History Museum, London, UK


Natural History Museum of Bern, Switzerland


Natural History Museum of Vienna, Austria


Paleontological Institute of Uppsala, Sweden


Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Senckenberg, Frankfurt, Germany


Sammlung für Paläontologie und Historische Geologie München, Germany



We thank Mikael Fortelius, Ray Bernor and Majid Mirzaie for their constant assistance. We also thank Maria Rios Ibanez for the species discussions. We acknowledge Pip Brewer and Jerry Hooker and the Natural History Museum London, Christine Argot and Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Eileen Westwig and the American Museum of Natural History, Marcus Bertling and Klemens Oekentorp at the Geomuseum of the WWU, Ursula Göhlich at the Natural History Museum of Vienna, Vivianne Berg Madsen and Jan Ove Ebbestad and Paleontological Institute of Uppsala, Ray Bernor and Majid Mirzaie and Howard University, Gertrud Rössner and Sammlung für Paläontologie und Historische Geologie München, Rainer Brocke and Jutta Oelkers-Schäfer and Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Senckenberg, Ursula Menkweld and Natural History Museum Bern, and Qiu Zhanxiang, Deng Tao, Sukuan Hou and Chen Shan-Qin at IVPP. We thank Ari Grossman and Loïc Costeur for the valuable comments and suggestions. Funding was supported by N.S.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anatomy: College of Osteopathic MedicineNew York Institute of TechnologyOld WestburyUSA
  2. 2.PaleontologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA

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