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New record of a Mesozoic gondwanatherian mammaliaform from Southern Patagonia


Gondwanatheria is an enigmatic mammaliaform clade distributed in the Cretaceous and Paleogene of South America, Africa, Madagascar, India and Antarctica. The Mesozoic record in South America is restricted to the Latest Cretaceous of Río Negro and Chubut provinces, Argentina and Magallanes Region of southern Chile. The aim of the present contribution is to describe a new specimen of gondwanatherian mammaliaforms from beds belonging to the Maastrichtian Chorrillo Formation, cropping out 30 km SW of El Calafate, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. It is represented by a single molariform referable to the species Magallanodon baikashkenke with which it shares a unique combination of characters. Analysis of the unique combination of characters exhibited by Magallanodon shed doubts on the monophyly of Ferugliotheriidae and suggest that South American taxa may be closely related to each other. The wide geographical distribution and occurrence of gondwanatherians on geological units of diverse origins suggest that they were capable of facing disparate environmental conditions.

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The material here described was collected in the context of a joint Argentine-Japanese exploration, carried out from 9 through 24 of March 2020. We thank other members of the crew, including M. Isasi, F. Brissón-Egli, A. Moreno, G. Lio, M. Aranciaga Rolando, S. Rozadilla, J. D´Angelo, M. Motta, S. Miner, G. Muñoz, J. De Pasqua, C. Thompson, M. Coronel, D. Moyano Paz, E. Vera, D. Piazza, G. Lo Coco, M. Novas, F. Novas Lo Coco, A. Misantone, S. Rozadilla, G. Stoll, C. Sakata, C. Miyamae and H. Kamei. A special thank to Dr. Yoshihiro Hayashi, Director General of the National Museum of Nature & Science, Japan. Facundo Echeverría and his wife Daphne Fraser (La Anita farm) offered their valuable geographic knowledge of these territories, allowing us an easy access to fossil sites with our 4 × 4 vehicles. Special thanks to Federico Braun for allowing access to his property and Oscar Canto and Carla Almazán (Secretaría de Cultura de la Provincia de Santa Cruz) for supporting our projects and explorations in Santa Cruz. We thank M. Ezcurra and L. Chornogubsky (MACN) for allowing us to review the collections under their care. Finally, we thank the comments of an annonymous reviewer and Patrick O´Connor that greatly improved the quality of the manuscript.


This work was supported by The Susan and Coleman Burke Foundation (New York), and a grant from the National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan.

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N.R.C., F.L.A. and F.E.N. contributed to the initial writing and design of the manuscript. The figures were made by N.R.C., while M.M. and T.T. conducted a significant review. All authors participated in the field and laboratory work, approved the final version of the manuscript and agreed to be held accountable for the contents of the final version.

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Correspondence to Nicolás R. Chimento.

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Communicated by: Aurora Grandal-d'Anglade

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Chimento, N.R., Agnolin, F.L., Tsuihiji, T. et al. New record of a Mesozoic gondwanatherian mammaliaform from Southern Patagonia. Sci Nat 107, 49 (2020).

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  • Gondwanatheria
  • Late Cretaceous
  • Santa Cruz province
  • Argentina