Journal of Mammalian Evolution

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 57–69 | Cite as

Fossil Tragelaphini (Artiodactyla: Bovidae) from the Late Pliocene Hadar Formation, Afar Regional State, Ethiopia

  • Kaye E. ReedEmail author
  • Faysal Bibi
Original Paper


The fossil tragelaphins from the late Pliocene of Hadar are described. These are Tragelaphus lockwoodi, new species, and Tragelaphus aff. T. nakuae. Tragelaphus lockwoodi bears long horns that define one complete spiral and that are mediolaterally compressed at the base. In these and other morphological characteristics it approaches the greater kudu, T. strepsiceros, and makes a good ancestral candidate for this living species. The Hadar T. aff. T. nakuae is similar to other specimens of this species from sites >2.8 Ma in East Africa and demonstrates well the major differences between the earlier and later representatives of this taxon. The sizes and morphological variation in the large Hadar T. aff. T. nakuae sample supports the idea that female individuals of this species were horned as is the case today in the elands and the bongo. Tragelaphus lockwoodi is present only in the lower beds of the Hadar Formation, and in small numbers, while T. aff. T. nakuae is recovered in relative abundance from throughout the ca. 3.4-ca. 2.9 Ma sequence.


Tragelaphini Tragelaphus lockwoodi Tragelaphus nakuae Morphological variation 


  1. Arambourg C (1941) Antilopes nouvelles du pleistocene ancien de l’Omo (Abyssinie). Mus Natl Hist Nat Paris, B series 2(13):339–347Google Scholar
  2. Campisano CJ (2007) Tephrostratigraphy and hominin paleoenvironments of the Hadar Formation, Afar Depression, Ethiopia. Ph.D. Dissertation. Rutgers, The State University of New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  3. de Heinzelin J, Clark JD, White T, Hart W, Renne P, WoldeGabriel G, Beyene Y, Vrba E (1999) Environment and behavior of 2.5-million-year-old Bouri hominids. Science 284:625–629CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Estes RD (1991) The Behavior Guide to African Mammals. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  5. Feibel CS, Brown FH, Mcdougall I (1989) Stratigraphic context of fossil hominids from the Omo Group deposits—Northern Turkana Basin, Kenya and Ethiopia. Am J Phys Anthropol 78:595–622CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Gentry AW (1981) Notes on Bovidae (Mammalia) from the Hadar Formation, and from Amado and Geraru, Ethiopia. Kirtlandia, Volume 33. Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, pp 1–30Google Scholar
  7. Gentry AW (1985) The Bovidae of the Omo Group deposits, Ethiopia (French and American collections). In: Coppens Y, Howell FC (eds) Les faunes Plio-Pleistocenes de la basse Vallee de l’Omo (Ethiopie); I: Perissodactyles-Artiodactyles (Bovidae). CNRS, Paris, pp 119–191Google Scholar
  8. Gentry AW (1996) A fossil Budorcas (Mammalia, Bovidae) from Africa. In: Stewart KM, Seymour KL (eds) Paleoecology and Paleoenvironments of Late Cenozoic Mammals: Tributes to the Career of C.S. (Rufus) Churcher. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, pp 571–587Google Scholar
  9. Gentry AW (2006) A new bovine (Bovidae, Artiodactyla) from the Hadar Formation, Ethiopia. Trans R Soc S Afr 61:41–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Geraads D, Melillo S, Haile-Selassie Y (2009) Middle Pliocene Bovidae from hominid-bearing sites in the Woranso-Mille area, Afar region, Ethiopia. Palaeontol Afr 44:59–70Google Scholar
  11. Haile-Selassie Y, Vrba ES, Bibi F (2009) Bovidae. In: Haile-Selassie Y, WoldeGabriel G (eds) Ardipithecus kadabba: Late Miocene Evidence from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp 277–330Google Scholar
  12. Harris JM (1991) Family Bovidae. In: Harris JM (ed) Koobi Fora Research Project Volume III. Clarendon, Oxford, pp 139–320Google Scholar
  13. Harris JM, Leakey MG (2003) Geology and vertebrate paleontology of the early Pliocene site of Kanapoi, northern Kenya. Contributions in Science 498, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, pp 1–132Google Scholar
  14. Hassanin A, Douzery EJP (1999) The tribal radiation of the family Bovidae (Artiodactyla) and the evolution of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Mol Phylogenet Evol 13:227–243CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hernández-Fernández M, Vrba ES (2005) A complete estimate of the phylogenetic relationships in Ruminantia: a dated species-level supertree of the extant ruminants. Biol Rev 80:269–302CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Matthee CA, Robinson TJ (1999) Cytochrome b phylogeny of the family Bovidae: resolution within the Alcelaphini, Antilopini, Neotragini, and Tragelaphini. Mol Phylogenet Evol 12:31–46CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Reed KE (2008) Paleoecological patterns at the Hadar hominin site, Afar Regional State, Ethiopia. J Hum Evol 54:743–768CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Renne PR, WoldeGabriel G, Hart WK, Heiken G, White TD (1999) Chronostratigraphy of the Miocene-Pliocene Sagantole Formation, Middle Awash Valley, Afar rift, Ethiopia. Geol Soc Am Bull 111:869–885CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Thomas H (1980) Les bovidés du Miocène supérieur des couches de Mpesida et de la formation de Lukeino (district de Baringo, Kenya). In: Leakey RF, Ogot BA (eds) Proceedings of the 8th Panafrican Congress of Prehistory and Quaternary Studies (Nairobi 1977), pp 82–91Google Scholar
  20. Van Gelder RG (1977) An eland x kudu hybrid, and the content of the genus Tragelaphus. Lammergeyer 23:1–6Google Scholar
  21. Vrba ES (1997) New fossils of Alcelaphini and Caprinae (Bovidae; Mammalia) from Awash, Ethiopia, and phylogenetic analysis of Alcelaphini. Palaeontol Afr 34:127–198Google Scholar
  22. Willows-Munro S, Robinson TJ, Matthee CA (2005) Utility of nuclear DNA intron markers at lower taxonomic levels: phylogenetic resolution among nine Tragelaphus spp. Mol Phylogenet Evol 35:624–636CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social ChangeArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Institut de Paléoprimatologie et Paléontologie humaine: Evolution et PaléoenvironnementsCNRS UMR 6046-Université de Poitiers-UFR SFAPoitiersFrance

Personalised recommendations