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Swiss Journal of Palaeontology

, Volume 138, Issue 2, pp 259–275 | Cite as

The Allemann collection from the Santa Cruz Formation (late early Miocene), Argentina, in Zurich, Switzerland

  • Daniel Zurita-Altamirano
  • Eric Buffetaut
  • Analía M. Forasiepi
  • Alejandro Kramarz
  • Juan D. Carrillo
  • Gabriel Aguirre-Fernández
  • Alfredo A. Carlini
  • Torsten M. Scheyer
  • Marcelo R. Sánchez-VillagraEmail author
Regular Research Article

Abstract

One of the best-known faunal assemblages that characterizes the past ecosystems from South America comes from the Santa Cruz Formation in Argentina. This assemblage is formed by an endemic fauna, which included ground sloths, glyptodonts, native ungulates, terror birds (phorusrhacids), among others. The Santacrucian South American Land Mammal Age is dated 18.0–15.6 Ma, late early Miocene. Current curatorial efforts revealed a large collection of over 1100 fossil remains from the Santa Cruz Formation, donated in 2007 to the Paleontological Museum, University of Zurich, Switzerland. The fossils were brought to Switzerland in the late 1880s by Theodor Allemann, an engineer and amateur collector. The collection includes skulls, isolated teeth, mandibles, and isolated postcranial elements. Postcranials are mainly represented by astragali, calcanei, and osteoderms. The study of the remains allowed us to recognize 20 families of mammals, one of birds, and one of amphibians: Abderitidae, Palaeothentidae (Paucituberculata); Hathliacynidae (Sparassodonta); Dasypodidae, Peltephilidae, and Glyptodontidae (Cingulata); Megatheriidae and Megalonychidae (Tardigrada); Astrapotheriidae (Astrapotheria), Protherotheriidae and Macraucheniidae (Litopterna); Toxodontidae, Homalodotheriidae, Hegetotheriidae and Interatheriidae (Notoungulata); Dasyproctidae, Dinomyidae, Neoepiblemidae, Chinchillidae, Erethizontidae, Echimyidae and Eocardidae (Rodentia); Phorusrhacidae (Cariamiformes); and Calyptocephalellidae (Anura). Among them, we identified 28 genera and 9 species. Reference to the previous work on the Santa Cruz fauna and the good preservation of the material allow us to achieve taxonomic resolution in the identifications. We discuss the potential usefulness of this collection for studying the paleobiology of specimens/species of this fauna.

Keywords

Mammalia Aves Anura Miocene Patagonia South America 

Abbreviations

StC + D

Stylar cusp C + D

StB

Stylar cusp B

M/m

Upper and lower molars

P/p

Upper and lower premolars

C/c

Upper and lower canines

I/i

Upper and lower incisors

Mf/mf

Upper and lower molariforms

SALMA

South America Land Mammal Age

PIMUZ

Paleontological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich

Resumen

Durante largos períodos del Cenozoico, América del Sur estuvo aislada de otros continentes y fue el hogar de una fauna endémica que incluía perezosos gigantes, gliptodontes y aves del terror (fororrácidos), entre otros. Uno de los conjuntos faunísticos más importantes que caracterizan a estos ecosistemas del pasado proviene de la Formación Santa Cruz (Edad Mamífero de América del Sur Santacrucense, 18.0–15.6 Ma, finales del Mioceno temprano. Los esfuerzos curatoriales recientes revelaron una gran colección (más de 1100 restos) de fósiles de la Formación Santa Cruz, donada por el Museo de Historia Natural Olten al Museo Paleontológico de la Universidad de Zúrich en 2007. Los fósiles fueron transportados a Suiza a fines de la década de 1880 por Theodor Allemann, un ingeniero y coleccionista aficionado, que donó su colección en 1926 al municipio de Olten. La colección incluye cráneos parciales, dientes aislados, mandíbulas, maxilares y elementos postcraneales aislados (principalmente astrágalos, calcáneos y osteodermos). La revisión de los restos nos permitió reconocer 20 familias de mamíferos, una de aves y una de anfibios: Abderitidae, Palaeothentidae (Paucituberculata); Hathliacynidae (Sparassodonta); Dasypodidae, Peltephilidae, y Glyptodontidae (Cingulata); Megatheriidae y Megalonychidae (Tardigrada); Astrapotheriidae (Astrapotheria), Protherotheriidae y Macraucheniidae (Litopterna); Toxodontidae, Homalodotheriidae, Hegetotheriidae y Interatheriidae (Notoungulata); Dasyproctidae, Dinomyidae, Neoepiblemidae, Chinchillidae, Erethizontidae, Echimyidae y Eocardidae (Rodentia); Phorusrhacidae (Cariamiformes); y Calyptocephalellidae (Anura). Hemos identificado 28 géneros y nueve especies. La referencia al trabajo previo sobre la fauna de Santa Cruz y la buena conservación del material nos permiten lograr una resolución taxonómica en las identificaciones, discutimos el potencial de esta colección para contribuir al estudio de la paleobiología de los especímenes/especies de esta fauna

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Guillaume Billet for aid in the identification of notoungulates; Christian Klug and Heinz Furrer for access to collections; Gabriela Schmidt for advice on taxonomic identifications; Maya Barben, Zoe Bont, Chris Brunner, Evelyn Hüppi and Nina Thürlimann, for preliminary work and sorting of specimens; and Loïc Costeur and two anonymous reviewers for their useful suggestions to improve the manuscript. Juan D. Carrillo was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation funds P1ZHP3_165068 and P2ZHP3_174749.

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Copyright information

© Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz (SCNAT) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Zurich, Paleontological Institute and MuseumZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.CNRS (UMR 8538), Laboratoire de Géologie de l’Ecole Normale SupérieurePSL Research UniversityParisFrance
  3. 3.Palaeontological Research and Education CentreMaha Sarakham UniversityMaha SarakhamThailand
  4. 4.IANIGLA, CCT-CONICETMendozaArgentina
  5. 5.Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”Buenos AiresArgentina
  6. 6.Department of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  7. 7.Gothenburg Global Biodiversity CentreGothenburgSweden
  8. 8.Laboratorio de Morfología Evolutiva y Desarrollo (MORPHOS), and Div. Paleontología de Vertebrados, Museo de la PlataUNLPLa PlataArgentina

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