Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 98, Issue 2, pp 287–313 | Cite as

Biochronological and palaeobiogeographical significance of the earliest Miocene mammal fauna from Northern Vietnam

  • Jérôme PrietoEmail author
  • Pierre-Olivier Antoine
  • Jan van der Made
  • Grégoire Métais
  • Laq The Phuc
  • Quý Trương Quan
  • Simon Schneider
  • Dang Ngoc Tran
  • Davit Vasilyan
  • Luong The Viet
  • Madelaine Böhme
Original Paper


Current scientific knowledge of Tertiary fossils from south of the Ailao Shan-Red River shear zone is extremely poor, in sharp contrast with the situation nowadays, as the area of Laos and Vietnam is regarded as a global hotspot of biodiversity. In this context, the few localities that yielded fossil assemblages are of first importance for the understanding of Cenozoic palaeobiogeography and the tectonic and palaeogeographical evolution of the region. Hang Mon 1 (Son La Province, Northern Vietnam) was the first site that provided evidence of Tertiary mammals, but its age remained very controversial, interpretations ranging from Oligocene to Late Miocene. Herein, we re-investigate the mammal fauna of the locality based on newly collected material and previously published fossil mammals. A new outcrop, Hang Mon 2, provides evidence of the rhinoceroses Pleuroceros blanfordi and Bugtirhinus sp. Together with the earlier finds of uncommonly small-sized Protaceratherium, these fossils allow a correlation to the earliest Miocene (most probably ranging from ~23 to ~21 Ma; Aquitanian) based on faunal comparison with the Sulaiman Province of Pakistan. The revision of the mammals from Hang Mon 1 is in agreement with this stratigraphic proposal. In addition, the discoveries from Vietnam (the rhinocerotid assemblage and Hyotherium) further support the hypothesis of strong biogeographical and environmental affinities between Europe, the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia (Vietnam) during the Aquitanian.


Southern Asia Mammals Aquitanian Rhinocerotidae Tragulidae Suoidea Biostratigraphy 



In first place, Herbert H. Covert (Boulder) is thanked for kindly providing casts of the material he found during his previous field campaign at Hang Mon.

Access to comparative rhino material for POA was funded by the ANR-PALASIAFRICA Program (ANR-08-JCJC-0011-01 – ANR-ERC). Many thanks to J.C. Barry and D. Pilbeam (Anthropology Department, Harvard University & Peabody Museum, USA), as well as to P. Dalous, F. Duranthon and G. Fleury (Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de Toulouse, France), for granting access to the collections under their care.

JvdM thanks the following persons for allowing access to material or helping in any other way: J. Agustí, M.T. Alberdi, M. Arif, E. Büttiker, Chen Guanfang, F. Chevrier, G. Daxner Höck, F. Duranthon, B. Engesser, S.T. Hussain, V. Fahlbusch, O. Fejfar, J. Galkin, A. Galobart, L. Ginsburg, C. de Giuli, W. Gräf, Guan Jian, C. Guérin, K. Heissig, J. Hooker, M. Hugueney, K.A. Hünermann, Liu Liping, E. Menéndez, J. Morales, M. Muungu, R. Niederl, R. O’Leary, Pan Yuerong, M. Philippe, G. Plodowski, K. Rauscher, G. Rössner, G. Scharfe, F. Schrenk, P.Y. Sondaar, J. Sudre, M. Telles Antunes, Tong Haowen, G. Tronchetti. JvdM received support from project CGL2012-38434-C03-02.

The excavations and fossil preparation were financially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; Grant Numbers BO 1550/11-1, 2). Several of the authors are members of the GDRI (International research Network) entitled “Paleobiodiversity of South East Asia” sponsored by the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS). Finally, we acknowledge Kurt Heißig (Munich) and one anonymous reviewer for their constructive suggestions. We are grateful to Sinje Weber (Frankfurt) for her help during the mover of this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest:

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jérôme Prieto
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Pierre-Olivier Antoine
    • 3
  • Jan van der Made
    • 4
  • Grégoire Métais
    • 5
  • Laq The Phuc
    • 6
  • Quý Trương Quan
    • 7
  • Simon Schneider
    • 8
  • Dang Ngoc Tran
    • 9
  • Davit Vasilyan
    • 10
    • 11
  • Luong The Viet
    • 9
  • Madelaine Böhme
    • 12
    • 13
  1. 1.Department of Earth- and Environmental Science, PalaeontologyLudwig-Maximilians-University MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und GeologieMunichGermany
  3. 3.Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution, cc 64, CNRS, IRD, EPHEUniversité de Montpellier, Place Eugène BataillonMontpellier Cedex 05France
  4. 4.Departamento de PaleobiologíaMuseo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasMadridSpain
  5. 5.CR2P, Paléobiodiversité et Paléoenvironnements, UMR 7207 (CNRS, MNHN, UPMC)Paris Cedex 05France
  6. 6.Vietnam National Museum of NatureHanoiVietnam
  7. 7.Geological MuseumHanoiVietnam
  8. 8.CASPCambridgeUK
  9. 9.Department of Geology and Minerals of Vietnam (DGMV)HanoiVietnam
  10. 10.JURASSICA MuseumPorrentruySwitzerland
  11. 11.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland
  12. 12.Department of GeoscienceEberhard Karls UniversityTübingenGermany
  13. 13.Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment (HEP)TübingenGermany

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