New Fossil Suid Specimens from the Terminal Miocene Hominoid Locality of Shuitangba, Zhaotong, Yunnan Province, China

  • Sukuan Hou
  • Denise F. Su
  • Jay Kelley
  • Tao Deng
  • Nina G. Jablonski
  • Lawrence J. Flynn
  • Xueping Ji
  • Jiayong Cao
  • Xin Yang
Original Paper


Fossil suid specimens recovered from the latest Miocene site of Shuitangba, Zhaotong Basin, Yunnan Province, provide new information on the classification and relationship of Chinese Miocene Suinae. Most of the recovered specimens are referred to a relatively advanced and large species of Suinae, Propotamochoerus hyotherioides, based on dental dimensions and morphology. Detailed morphological comparisons were made between the Shuitangba Pr. hyotherioides and other Asian Miocene suines. From these comparisons, we suggest that Pr. hyotherioides from Shuitangba and northern China may be relatively derived compared to the specimens from Lufeng and Yuanmou, southern China and that Pr. hyotherioides and Pr. wui represent separate branches of the genus in China. Furthermore, Microstonyx differs from Pr. hyotherioides in p4/P4 and m3/M3 characters. Molarochoerus is suggested to represent a relatively derived taxon due to the uniquely molarized upper and lower fourth premolars. Miochoerus youngi is suggested to have a closer relationship to Sus and Microstonyx than to Propotamochoerus due to its small size and p4 morphology. Hippopotamodon ultimus, Potamochoerus chinhsienense, Dicoryphochoerus medius, and D. binxianensis exhibit complex morphologies that variously resemble Propotamochoerus, Microstonyx, and Sus and are suggested to be possible transitional forms between Propotamochoerus, Microstonyx, and Sus. However, the resolution of their classification requires further analysis when more material is recovered.


Propotamochoerus Suinae Classification Terminal Miocene Shuitangba 



Length of Premolar and Molar


Labio-Lingual Diameter


Mesio-Distal Diameter


Maximum Width of a Cheek Tooth


Width of the First Lobe of a Cheek Tooth


Width of the Second Lobe of a Cheek Tooth


Width of the Third Lobe of the Third Molar and the Deciduous Fourth Lower Premolar





We thank all of those who participated in the fieldwork that resulted in the retrieval of these specimens. We would like to particularly acknowledge the assistance of the following individuals and institutions in providing field logistical support: Guodong Mao, Yuxi Museum, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Qujing Institute of Cultural Relics, Chuxiong Prefectural Museum, Zhaotong Government. Financial support is gratefully acknowledged from the National Science Foundation of the United States of America (BCS-1035897, BCS-1227964, BCS-1227927, BCS-1227838), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41202002, 41430102), Yunnan Natural Science Foundation (Grant 2010CC010), Zhaotong Government, and Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. S. Hou was funded by National Science Foundation of the United States of America BCS-1227964 (to D.F. Su) while undertaking this study. We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers and J.R. Wible for their insightful comments, which improved the quality and clarity of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication April/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and PaleoanthropologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Paleobotany and PaleoecologyCleveland Museum of Natural HistoryClevelandUSA
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institute of Human Origins and School of Human Evolution and Social ChangeArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  5. 5.Department of AnthropologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  6. 6.Peabody Museum of Archaeology and EthnologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  7. 7.Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and ArchaeologyKunmingChina
  8. 8.Key Laboratory for PaleobiologyYunnan UniversityKunmingChina
  9. 9.Zhaotong Institute of Cultural RelicsZhaotongChina
  10. 10.Zhaoyang MuseumZhaotongChina

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