New discoveries of glirids and eomyids (Mammalia, Rodentia) in the Early Miocene of the Junggar basin (Northern Xinjiang province, China)

  • Olivier Maridet
  • Wen-Yu Wu
  • Jie Ye
  • Xi-Jun Ni
  • Jin Meng


We report herein new discoveries of Gliridae and Eomyidae (Mammalia, Rodentia) from the new Early Miocene locality XJ 200604, located northwest to the Burqin city, northern Xinjiang province, China. These specimens represent three taxa of Gliridae, including a new species (Miodyromys asiamediae nov. sp., Microdyromys aff. orientalis and Eliomys? sp.), and four taxa of Eomyidae (Asianeomys aff. engesseri, Asianeomys sp., Keramidomys sp. and Eomyidae indet). The identification of two forms that are closely related to Microdyromys orientalis and Asianeomys engesseri suggests an Early Miocene age of the locality but does not allow a more precise age determination. The new discoveries of Gliridae and Eomyidae again reveal the relative scarcity of the two families in the Early Miocene of Central Asia, in contrast to the coeval rich European record. Such a discrepancy in taxonomic diversity and abundance is hypothesized as resulting from different environmental evolutions during the Early Miocene, most notably the onset of a mid-latitude dry climate in Central Asia linked to combine effects of the Tibetan Plateau uplift and the retreat of the Paratethys Sea.


Gliridae Eomyidae Early Neogene Central Asia Palaeoenvironment 



We want to thank W.-D. Zhang for taking the SEM pictures of specimens. We also thank J. Prieto et L. Costeur who contributed to this work through instructive discussions and comments on the manuscript. The first author’s research is supported by the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation (41050110135) and a Research Fellowship for International Young Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2009Y2BZ3).


  1. Abdul Aziz, H., Böhme, M., Rocholl, A., Prieto, J., Wijbrans, J. R., Bachtadse, V., et al. (2010). Integrated stratigraphy and 40Ar/39Ar chronology of the early to middle Miocene Upper Freshwater Molasse in western Bavaria (Germany). International Journal of Earth Sciences, 99, 1859–1886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abdul-Aziz, H., Böhme, M., Rocholl, A., Zwing, A., Prieto, J., Wijbrans, J., et al. (2008). Integrated stratigraphy of the Early to Middle Miocene Upper Freshwater Molasse in eastern Bavaria (Germany). International Journal of Earth Sciences, 97, 115–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aguilar, J.-P., Escarguel, G., & Michaux, J. (1999). A succession of Miocene rodent assemblages from fissure fillings in southern France: palaeoenvironmental interpretation and comparison with Spain. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 145, 215–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bessedik, M. (1985). Reconstitution des environements Miocenes des regions nord-ouest Mediterraneennes à partir de la palynologie. PhD Thesis, Montpellier: University of Montpellier 2.Google Scholar
  5. Bi, S.-D. (2000). Erinaceidae from the Early Miocene of north Junggar basin, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, China. Vertebrata Palasiatica, 38, 43–51.Google Scholar
  6. Bi, S.-D., Meng, J., Wu, W.-Y., Ye, J., & Ni, X.-J. (2009). New distylomyid rodents (Mammalia: Rodentia) from the Early Miocene Suosuoquan Formation of Northern Xinjiang, China. American Museum Novitates, 3663, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Böhme, M. (2003). The Miocene climatic optimum: evidence from ectothermic vertebrate of Central Europe. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 195, 389–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cheng, D.-G., & Peng, Z.-C. (1985). K-Ar ages and Pb, Sr isotopic characteristics of Cenozoic volcanic rocks in Shangdong, China. Geochimica, 4, 293–303.Google Scholar
  9. Costeur, L., & Legendre, S. (2008). Mammalian communities document a latitudinal environmental gradient during the miocene optimum in western Europe. Palaios, 23, 280–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Daams, R. (1981). The dental pattern of the dormice Dryomys, Myomimus, Microdyromys and Peridyromys. Utrecht Micropaleontological Bulletins, Special Publication, 3, 1–115.Google Scholar
  11. Daams, R. (1999). Family Gliridae. In G. E. Rössner & K. Heissig (Eds.), The Miocene land mammals of Europe (pp. 301–317). München: Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil.Google Scholar
  12. Daams, R., & de Bruijn, H. (1995). Classification of the Gliridae (Rodentia) on the basis of dental morphology. Hystrix (n.s), 6, 3–50.Google Scholar
  13. Daams, R., & Freudenthal, M. (1988). Cricetidae (Rodentia) from the type-Aragonian; the genus Megacricetodon. In M. Freudenthal (Ed.), Biostratigraphy and paleoecology of the Neogene micromammalian faunas from the Calatayud-Teruel Basin (Spain) (Vol. 1, pp. 39–132). Scripta Geologica Special Issue.Google Scholar
  14. Daams, R., Freudenthal, M., & van der Meulen, A.J. (1988). Ecostratigraphy of micromammal faunas from the Neogene of the Calatayud–Teruel Basin. In M. Freudenthal (Ed.), Biostratigraphy and paleoecology of the Neogene micromammalian faunas from the Calatayud-Teruel Basin (Spain) (Vol. 1, pp. 287–302). Scripta Geologica Special Issue.Google Scholar
  15. Daams, R., & van der Meuler, A. J. (1984). Paleoenvironmental and Paleoclimatic interpretation of micromammal faunal successions in the upper oligocene and Miocene of North Central Spain. Paléobiologie continentale, 2, 241–257.Google Scholar
  16. Daxner-Höck, G., & Badamgarav, D. (2007). Geological and stratigraphic setting. In G. Daxner-Höck (Ed.), Oligocene-Miocene vertebrates from the Valley of lakes (Central Mongolia): Morphology, phylogenetic and stratigraphic implications (Vol. 108A, pp. 1–24). Vienna: Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museum in Wien.Google Scholar
  17. Daxner-Höck, G., & Höck, E. (2009). New data on Eomyidae and Gliridae (Rodentia, Mammalia) from the Late Miocene of Austria. Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museum in Wien, 111A, 375–444.Google Scholar
  18. Deng, T. (2006). Chinese neogene mammal biochronology. Vertebrata Palasiatica, 44, 143–163.Google Scholar
  19. Ellerman, J. R. (1941). The families and genera of living rodents (Vol. 1). London: British Museum.Google Scholar
  20. Engesser, B. (1990). Die Eomyidae (Rodentia, Mammalia) der Molasse der Schweiz und Savoyens. Systematik und biostratigraphie. Schweizerische Paläontologische Abhandlungen, 112, 1–144.Google Scholar
  21. Engesser, B. (1999). Family Eomyidae. In G. E. Rössner & K. Heissig (Eds.), The Miocene land mammals of Europe (pp. 319–335). München: Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil.Google Scholar
  22. Gradstein, F. M., Ogg, J. G., Smith, A. G., Bleeker, W., & Lourens, L. J. (2004). A new geologic time scale, with special reference to Precambrian and Neogene. Episodes, 27, 83–100.Google Scholar
  23. Guo, Z. T., Ruddiman, W. F., Hao, Q. Z., Wu, H. B., Qiao, Y. S., Zhu, R. X., et al. (2002). Onset of Asian desertification by 22 Myr ago infered from loess deposits in China. Nature, 416, 159–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Guo, Z. T., Sun, B., Zhang, Z. S., Peng, S. Z., Xiao, G. Q., Ge, J. Y., et al. (2008). A major reorganization of Asian climate by the early Miocene. Climate of the past, 4, 153–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Heissig, K. (1989). The faunal succession of Bavarian molasses reconsidered - correlation of the MN 5 and MN 6 faunas. In E. H. Lindsay, V. Fahlbusch, & P. Mein (Eds.), European neogene mammal chronology (Vol. 180, pp. 181–192). New York: NATO Advanced Study Institut Series, Serie A.Google Scholar
  26. Hugueney, M. (1984). Evolution du paléoenvironnement dans le tertiaire de Limagne (Massif Central, France). Geobios, mémoires spéciaux, 8, 385–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jiménez-Moreno, G., Fauquette, S., Suc, J.-P., & Aziz, H. A. (2007). Early Miocene repetitive vegetation and climatic changes in the lacustrine deposits of the Rubielos de Mora Basin (Teruel, NE Spain). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 250, 101–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maridet, O., Hugueney, M., & Heissig, K. (2010). New data about the diversity of Early Oligocene eomyids (Mammalia, Rodentia) in Western Europe. Geodiversitas, 32, 221–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Maridet, O., Wu, W.-Y., Ye, J., Bi, S.-D., Ni, X.-J., & Meng, J. (2011a). Earliest occurrence of Democricetodon in China, in the Early Miocene of the Junggar Basin (Xinjiang) and comparison with the genus Spanocricetodon. Vertebrata Palasiatica, in press.Google Scholar
  30. Maridet, O., Wu, W.-Y., Ye, J., Bi, S.-D., Ni, X.-J., & Meng, J. (2011b). Early Miocene cricetids from the Junggar basin (Xinjiang, China) and their biochronological implications. Geobios, in press.Google Scholar
  31. Mayr, H. (1979). Gebissmorphologische Untersuchungen an miozänen Gliriden (Mammalia, Rodentia) Süddeutschlands. PhD thesis, Munich: Ludwig-Maximilians University.Google Scholar
  32. Meng, J., Ye, J., Wu, W.-Y., Yue, L., & Ni, X.-J. (2006). A recommended boundary stratotype section for Xiejian stage from Northern Junggar basin: implications to related bio-chronostratigraphy and environmental changes. Vertebrata Palasiatica, 44, 205–236.Google Scholar
  33. Mörs, T., & Kalthoff, D. C. (2004). A new species of Karydomys (Rodentia, Mammalia) and a systematic re-evaluation of this rare Eurasina Miocene hamster. Palaeontology, 47, 1387–1405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nowak, R. M. (1995). Mammals of the world. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Prieto, J. (2010). Note on the morphological variability of Keramidomys thaleri (Eomyidae, Mammalia) from Puttenhausen (North Alpine Foreland Basin, Germany). Zitteliana, A50, 103–109.Google Scholar
  36. Qiu, Z.-D. (1996). Middle Miocene micromammalian fauna from Tunggur. Nei Mongol: Beijing Science Press.Google Scholar
  37. Qiu, Z.-D., & Li, C.-K. (2003). Chapter 22. Rodents from the Chinese Neogene: Biogeographic Relationships with Europe and North America. In L. J. Flynn (Ed.), Vertebrate Fossils and Their Context (Vol. 279, pp. 586–602). New York: Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History.Google Scholar
  38. Qiu, Z.-D., Wang, X.-M., & Li, Q. (2006). Faunal succession and biochronology of the Miocene through Pliocene in Nei Mongolia. Vertebrata Palasiatica, 44, 164–181.Google Scholar
  39. Storch, G., Engesser, B., & Wuttke, M. (1996). Oldest fossil record of gliding in rodents. Nature, 379, 439–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sun, J.-M., Ye, J., Wu, W.-Y., Ni, X.-J., Bi, S.-D., Zhang, Z.-Q., et al. (2010). Late Oligocene–Miocene mid-latitude aridification and wind patterns in the Asian interior. Geology, 38, 515–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Utescher, T., Mosbrugger, V., & Ashraf, A. (2000). Terrestrial climate evolution in Northwest Germany over the last 25 million years. Palaios, 15, 430–449.Google Scholar
  42. van der Meulen, A. J., & Daams, R. (1992). Evolution of Early-Middle Miocene rodent faunas in relation to long-term palaeoenvironmental changes. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 93, 227–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. van der Meulen, A. J., García-Paredes, I., Álvarez-Sierra, M. A., van den Hoek Ostende, L. W., Hordijk, K., Oliver, A., et al. (2011). Biostratigraphy or biochronology? Lessons from the Early and Middle Miocene small Mammal Events in Europe. Geobios, 44, 309–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wang, B.-Y., & Emry, R. J. (1991). Eomyidae (Rodentia, Mammalia) from the Oligocene of Nei Mongol, China. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 11, 370–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wu, W.-Y. (1986). The aragonian vertebrate fauna of Xiaocaowan, Jiangsu – 4. Gliridae (Rodentia, Mammalia). Vertebrata Palasiatica, 24, 32–43.Google Scholar
  46. Wu, W.-Y. (1993). Neue Gliridae (Rodentia, Mammalia) aus untermiozänen (orleanischen) Spaltenfüllungen Süddeutschlands. Documenta Naturae, 81, 1–149.Google Scholar
  47. Wu, W.-Y., Meng, J., Ye, J., & Ni, X.-J. (2006). The first finds of Eomyids (Rodentia) from the Late Oligocene—Early Miocene of the Northern Junggar Basin, China. Beiträge zur Paläontologie, 30, 469–479.Google Scholar
  48. Ye, J., Meng, J., & Wu, W.-Y. (2003). Chapter 21. Oligocene/Miocene Beds and Faunas from Tieersihabahe in the Northern Junggar Basin of Xinjiang. In L. J. Flynn (Ed.), Vertebrate fossils and their context (Vol. 279, pp. 568–585). New York: Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz (SCNAT) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivier Maridet
    • 1
  • Wen-Yu Wu
    • 1
  • Jie Ye
    • 1
  • Xi-Jun Ni
    • 1
  • Jin Meng
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and PaleoanthropologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Division of PaleontologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations