The Lipotyphla of Yushe Basin

  • Lawrence J. Flynn
  • Wen-Yu Wu
Part of the Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology book series (VERT)


Insectivoran mammals have been recovered by Sino-American field teams from various localities in each formation of the Yuncu and Tancun subbasins. They were an important component of late Miocene through Pliocene faunas of North China. One hedgehog has been found in late Pliocene and Pleistocene localities. Moles, however, are diverse and occur throughout the Miocene and Pliocene section, with one early Pliocene record of the water mole Desmana . The Yushe collection includes the Pliocene talpine Scaptochirus , which is at present the oldest fossil of this genus. Shrews are also diverse, including multiple representatives of the tribes Soricini, Nectogalini, and Beremendiini. Presence of a blarinine suggests immigration of this element from North America by 6 Ma, and morphological similarity with beremendiines suggests that recognition of these groups should be reviewed. The early Pleistocene Haiyan Formation has yielded only Sorex, and to date only Crocidura has emerged from the Pleistocene loess. Declining insectivoran diversity corresponds with a hypothetical decline in mean annual temperature. The insectivoran component of Yushe shows affinity with fossil and living faunas of North China, and a majority of elements are shared broadly across Eurasia. Two taxa at least ( Yunoscaptor and Soriculus) also occur in South China, indicating former wide distribution of these genera, and suggesting southward retraction of their preferred paleohabitat from Shanxi Province since the Pliocene.


Yushe Basin North China Late Neogene Lipotyphla Insectivores Shrews Moles 



We thank reviewers, especially William Korth and Nick Czaplewski, for their help in improving this chapter. Ruth O’Leary kindly verified the correct number for the F:AM jaw of Erinaceus olgae.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and EthnologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of PaleomammalogyInstitute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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