The Zokors of Yushe Basin

  • Shao-Hua Zheng
Part of the Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology book series (VERT)


Myospalacinae from the Yushe Basin include ten species representing two tribes: Prosiphneini and Mesosiphneini. Of four Prosiphneini, the late Miocene Prosiphneus murinus spans the Mahui Formation to the Taoyang Member, low in the Gaozhuang Formation (~6.5–5.7 Ma), Pliosiphneus antiquus n. sp. occurs in the middle of the Nanzhuanggou Member of the Gaozhuang Formation (~4.7–4.5 Ma), and Pliosiphneus lyratus spans the Nanzhuanggou Member of the Gaozhuang Formation to the lower Mazegou Formation (~4.7–3.6 Ma). The derived Eospalax fontanieri appears much later in the Lishi Loess and younger sediments. The record of six Mesosiphneini begins with Chardina truncatus in the Nanzhuanggou Member (~4.7–4.5 Ma). Mesosiphneus praetingi spans the Culiugou Member of the Gaozhuang Formation to the lower Mazegou Formation (~4.3–3.4), and is followed by Mesosiphneus intermedius higher in the Mazegou Formation (~3.4–2.9 Ma). The mesosiphneine Yangia trassaerti is present in the early Pleistocene Haiyan Formation and Y. tingi occurs higher in the Haiyan Formation, both pre-Reunion magnetostratigraphic event, estimated ~2.5 to 2.2 Ma. Yangia epitingi in the Pleistocene Wucheng Loess is the youngest Yushe mesosiphneine. Zokor distribution reflects the Teilhard de Chardin Yushe biostratigraphy: the Mahui Formation to the Taoyang Member of the Gaozhuang Formation is equivalent to Teilhard’s Yushe Zone I; the Nanzhuanggou and Culiugou members through the Mazegou Formation is equivalent to Yushe Zone II; and the Haiyan Formation represents Yushe Zone III. The data propose a lineage of Mesosiphneini evolving from a primitive form to extinction: Chardina truncatus  Mesosiphneus praetingi  M. intermedius   Yangia trassaerti  Y. tingi  Y. epitingi. The transformation from the rooted M. intermedius to the rootless Y. trassaerti (by the earliest Pleistocene) clearly reflects a major change in environmental conditions. Among the rooted myospalacines, specific differentiation is recognized by sudden increases in tooth crown height. Among the rootless forms, taxa are distinguished by the increase of clinomegodonty (decrease in angle α), which is correlated with increased dental stress during feeding, likely due to changing environment.


North China Neogene Siphneids Zokors Myospalacinae 



The author expresses his gratitude to colleagues Wen-Yu Wu and Jie Ye for providing initial field data and comments on the manuscript, to Zhu-Ding Qiu and L.J. Flynn for support and encouragement during the research, and to the reviewers of the manuscript, Qiang Li, Thomas Stidham, Yingqi Zhang, and Samantha Hopkins. The author thanks especially the late William R. Downs for great assistance in translating the text to English.


  1. Allen, G. M. (1938). The mammals of China and Mongolia. Natural history of central Asia. American Museum of Natural History, 11, 1–620.Google Scholar
  2. An, Z.-S., & Ho, C.-K. (1989). New magnetostratigraphic dates of Lantian Homo erectus. Quaternary Research, 32, 213–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bazarov, D. B., Erbaeva, M. A., & Rezanov, I. N. (1976). Geology and fauna of the Anthropogene reference sections in western Transbaikal. Moscow: Akademiya Nauka (in Russian).Google Scholar
  4. Boule, M., & Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1928). Paléontologie. In M. Boule, H. Breuil, E. Licent & P. Teilhard de Chardin (Eds.), Le paléolithique de la Chine, deuxieme partie (Mémoire 4, pp. 26–102). Paris: Archives de L’Institut de Paléontologie Humaine.Google Scholar
  5. Cai, B.-Q. (1987). A preliminary report on the Late Pliocene micromammalian fauna from Yangyuan and Yuxian, Hebei. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 25, 124–136.Google Scholar
  6. Cai, B.-Q., & Li, Q. (2004). Human remains and the environment of Early Pleistocene in the Nihewan basin. Science in China, D47, 437–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cai, B.-Q., Zhang, Z.-Q., Zheng, S.-H., Qiu, Z.-D., & Li, Q. (2004). New advances in the stratigraphic study on representative sections in the Nihewan Basin, Hebei. Professional Papers of Stratigraphy and Paleontology, 28, 267–285.Google Scholar
  8. Chao, Z.-K., & Tai, E.-J. (1961). Report on the excavation of the Choukoudian Sinanthropus site in 1960. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 4, 374–378.Google Scholar
  9. Chia, L.-P., & Chai, J.-C. (1957). Quaternary mammalian fossils from Chihcheng, Hopei. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 1, 47–55.Google Scholar
  10. Chow, M.-C., & Li, C.-K. (1965). Mammalian fossils in association with the mandible of Lantian Man at Chen-Chia-Ou, in Lantian, Shensi. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 9, 377–393.Google Scholar
  11. De Bruijn, H., Bosma, A. A., & Wessels, W. (2015). Are the Rhizomyinae and Spalacinae closely related? Contradistinctive conclusions between genetics and palaeontology. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments, 95, 257–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ding, Z.-L., Derbyshire, E., Yang, S.-L., Yu, Z.-W., Xiong, S.-F. & Liu, T.-S. (2002). Stacked 2.6-Ma grain size record from the Chinese loess based on five sections and correlation with the deep-sea δ18O record. Palaeoceanography, 17, 5.1–21Google Scholar
  13. Flynn, L. J., Tedford, R. H., & Qiu, Z.-X. (1991). Enrichment and stability in the Pliocene mammalian fauna of North China. Paleobiology, 17, 246–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gromov, I. M., & Baranova, G. J. (1981). Catalogue of the Pliocene-recent mammals of the USSR. Leningrad: Akademiya Nauka (in Russian).Google Scholar
  15. Guo, Z.-T., Ruddiman, W.F., Hao, Q.-Z., Wu, H.-B., Qiao, Y.-S., Zhu, R.-X. et al. (2002). Onset of Asian desertification by 22 Myr ago inferred from loess deposits in China. Nature, 416, 159–163.Google Scholar
  16. Hao, Q.-Z., & Guo, Z.-T. (2004). Magnetostratigraphy of a late Miocene-Pliocene loess-soil sequence in the western Loess Plateau in China. Geophysical Research Letters, 31, 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hu, C.-K. (1985). The history of mammalian fauna of Locality 1 of Zhoukoudian and its recent advances. In IVPP (Eds.), Multidisciplinary study of the Peking man site at Zhoukoudian (pp. 107–113). Beijing: Science Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hu, C.-K., & Qi, T. (1978). Gongwangling Pleistocene mammalian fauna of Lantian, Shaanxi. Palaeontologia Sinica new series, C21, 1–64.Google Scholar
  19. Ji, H.-X. (1975). The Lower Pleistocene mammalian fossils of Lantian district, Shensi. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 13, 169–177.Google Scholar
  20. Ji, H.-X. (1976). The Middle Pleistocene mammalian fossils of Laochihe, Lantian district, Shaanxi. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 14, 59–66.Google Scholar
  21. Kretzoi, M. (1961). Zwei Myospalaxiden aus dem Nordchina. Vertebrata Hungarica, 3, 123–136.Google Scholar
  22. Lawrence, M. A. (1991). A fossil Myospalax cranium (Muridae, Rodentia) from Shanxi, China with observations on zokor relationships. In T.A. Griffiths & D. Klingener (Eds.), Contributions to mammalogy in honor of Karl F. Koopman (Vol. 206, pp. 261–286). New York: Bulletin American Museum of Natural History.Google Scholar
  23. Leroy, P. (1940). Observations on living Chinese mole-rats. Bulletin of the Fan Memorial Institute of Biology. Zoology, 10, 167–193.Google Scholar
  24. Li, C.-K., Wu, W.-Y., & Qiu, Z.-D. (1984). Chinese Neogene: Subdivision and correlation. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 22, 163–178.Google Scholar
  25. Li, Q., Zheng, S.-H., & Cai, B.-Q. (2008). Pliocene biostratigraphic sequence in the Nihewan Basin, Hebei, China. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 46, 210–232.Google Scholar
  26. Liu, D.-S. (1964). Loess in the middle reaches of the Huanghe River. Beijing: Science Press (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  27. Liu, D.-S. (1985). Loess and the environment. Beijing: Science Press (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  28. Liu, L.-P., Zheng, S.-H., Cui, N., & Wang, L.-H. (2013). Myospalacines (Cricetidae, Rodentia) from the Miocene-Pliocene red clay section near Dongwan Village, Qin’an, Gansu, China and the classification of Myospalacinae. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 51, 211–241.Google Scholar
  29. Liu, L.-P., Zheng, S.-H., Cui, N., & Wang, L.-H. (2014). Rootless myospalacines from upper Pliocene to Pleistocene of Wenwanggou section, Lingtai, Gansu. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 52, 440–466.Google Scholar
  30. Liu, L.-P., Zheng, S.-H., Zhang, Z.-Q., & Wang, L.-H. (2011). Late Miocene-Early Pliocene biostratigraphy and Miocene/Pliocene boundary in the Dongwan section, Gansu. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 49, 229–240.Google Scholar
  31. Luo, Z.-X., Chen, W., Gao, W., Wang, Y.-X., Li, C.-Y. & Li, H. (2000). Mammalia 6. Rodentia, Part III: Cricetidae. In Z.-X. Luo, W. Chen & W. Gao (Eds.) Fauna Sinica (pp. 121–128). Beijing: Science Press.Google Scholar
  32. Martin, R. A. (1987). Notes on the classification and evolution of some North American fossil Microtus (Mammalia, Rodentia). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 7, 270–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mats, V. D., Pokatilov, S. M., Popova, A. J., Kranchynsky, N. V., Kulagina, N. V., & Shymaraeva, M. K. (1982). Central Baikal in Pliocene and Pleistocene time. Novosibirsk, Siberian Branch: Akademiya Nauka (in Russian).Google Scholar
  34. McKenna, M. C., & Bell, S. K. (1997). Classification of mammals above the species level. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Miller, G. S. (1927). Revised determinations of some Tertiary mammals from Mongolia. Palaeontologia Sinica C, 5(2), 1–20.Google Scholar
  36. Musser, G. G., & Carleton, M. D. (2005). Superfamily Muroidea. In D. E. Wilson & D. M. Reeder (Eds.), Mammal species of the world—A taxonomic and geographic reference (pp. 894–1531). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Opdyke, N. D., Huang, K. & Tedford, R. H. (2013). The Paleomagnetism and magnetic stratigraphy of the Late Cenozoic sediments of the Yushe Basin, Shanxi Province, China. In R. H. Tedford, Z.-X. Qiu & L. J. Flynn (Eds.) Late Cenozoic Yushe Basin, Shanxi Province, China: Geology and fossil mammals, Volume I: History, geology, and magnetostratigraphy (pp. 69–78). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  38. Pei, W. C. (1930). On a collection of mammalian fossils from Chiachiashan, near Tongshan (Hopei). Bulletin of the Geological Society of China, 9, 371–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Qiu, Z.-D. (1988). Neogene micromammals of China. In E. K. Y. Chen (Ed.), The Paleoenvironment of East Asia from the mid-Tertiary 2 (pp. 834–848). Hong Kong: Center for Asian Studies.Google Scholar
  40. Qiu, Z.-D., & Storch, G. (2000). The Early Pliocene micromammalian fauna of Bilike, Inner Mongolia, China (Mammalia: Lipotyphla, Chiroptera, Rodentia, Lagomorpha). Senckenbergiana Lethaea, 80, 173–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Qiu, Z.-X., & Qiu, Z.-D. (1990). Neogene local mammalian faunas, succession, and ages. Journal of Stratigraphy, 14, 241–260.Google Scholar
  42. Schlosser, M. (1924). Tertiary vertebrates from Mongolia. Palaeontologia Sinica C, 1(1), 1–131.Google Scholar
  43. Suchov, V. P. (1970). Micromammals of Bashkiria (Southern Ural). Moscow: Akademiya Nauka.Google Scholar
  44. Tedford, R. H., Flynn, L. J., Qiu, Z.-X., Opdyke, N. D., & Downs, W. R. (1991). Yushe Basin, China, Paleomagnetically calibrated mammalian biostratigraphic standard for the Late Neogene of Eastern Asia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 11, 519–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tedford, R. H., Qiu, Z.-X., & Ye, J. (2013). Cenozoic geology of the Yushe Basin. In R. H. Tedford, Z.-X. Qiu, & L. J. Flynn (Eds.), Late Cenozoic Yushe Basin, Shanxi Province, China: Geology and fossil mammals, Volume I: History, geology, and magnetostratigraphy (pp. 35–67). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  46. Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1926). Mammifères Tertiaires de Chine et de Mongolie. Annales de Paléontologie, 15, 1–51.Google Scholar
  47. Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1936). Fossil mammals from Locality 9 of Choukoutien. Palaeontologia Sinica, C, 7(4), 1–70.Google Scholar
  48. Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1942). New rodents of the Pliocene and lower Pleistocene of North China. Publications de l’Institut de Géobiologie, Pékin, 9, 1–101.Google Scholar
  49. Teilhard de Chardin, P., & Leroy, P. (1942). Chinese fossil mammals. A complete bibliography, analyzed, tabulated, annotated, and indexed. Publications de l’Institut de Géobiologie, Pékin, 8, 1–142.Google Scholar
  50. Teilhard de Chardin, P., & Piveteau, J. (1930). Les mammifères fossiles de Nihowan (Chine). Annales de Paléontologie, 19, 1–134.Google Scholar
  51. Teilhard de Chardin, P., & Pei, W. C. (1941). The fossil mammals of Locality 13 in Choukoutien. Palaeontologia Sinica, C11, 1–106.Google Scholar
  52. Teilhard de Chardin, P., & Young, C. C. (1931). Fossil mammals from northern China. Palaeontologia Sinica, C, 9(1), 1–66.Google Scholar
  53. Wang, H. (1988). An Early Pleistocene mammalian fauna from Dali, Shaanxi. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 26, 59–72.Google Scholar
  54. Wang, Y.-X. (2003). A complete checklist of mammal species and subspecies in China. A taxonomic and geographic reference. Kunming: China Forestry Publishing House.Google Scholar
  55. Young, C. C. (1927). Fossile Nagetiere aus Nord-China. Palaeontologia Sinica, C, 5(3), 1–82.Google Scholar
  56. Young, C. C. (1935). Miscellaneous mammalian fossils from Shansi and Honan. Palaeontologia Sinica, C, 9(2), 1–42.Google Scholar
  57. Zhang, Z.-Q. (1999). Pliocene micromammal fauna from Ningxian, Gansu Province. In Y. Q. Wang & T. Deng (Eds.), Seventh Annual Meeting of the Chinese Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Proceedings (pp. 167–177). Beijing: China Ocean Press.Google Scholar
  58. Zhang, Z.-Q., & Zheng, S.-H. (2000). Late Miocene–Early Pliocene biostratigraphy of Loc. 93002 section, Lingtai, Gansu. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 38, 274–286.Google Scholar
  59. Zhang, Z.-Q., & Zheng, S.-H. (2001). Late Miocene–Pliocene biostratigraphy of Xiaoshigou section, Lingtai, Gansu. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 39, 54–66.Google Scholar
  60. Zhang, Z.-Q., Zheng, S.-H., & Liu, J.-B. (2003). Pliocene micromammalian biostratigraphy of Nihewan basin, with comments on the stratigraphic division. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 41, 306–313.Google Scholar
  61. Zheng, S.-H. (1976). Small mammals of Middle Pleistocene in Heshui, Gansu. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 14, 112–119.Google Scholar
  62. Zheng, S.-H. (1994). Classification and evolution of the Siphneidae. In Y. Tomida, C.-K. Li, & T. Setoguchi (Eds.), Rodent and lagomorph families of Asian origins and diversification (pp. 57–76). Tokyo: National Science Museum Monograph 8.Google Scholar
  63. Zheng, S.-H. (1997). Evolution of the Mesosiphneinae (Siphneidae, Rodentia) and environmental change. In Y.-S. Tong, Y.-Y. Zhang, W.-Y. Wu, J.-L. Li & L.-Q. Shi (Eds.), Evidence for evolution. Essays in honor of Prof. Chungchien Young on the hundredth anniversary of his birth (pp. 137–150). Beijing: China Ocean Press.Google Scholar
  64. Zheng, S.-H. & Cai, B.-Q. (1991). Micromammalian fossils from Danangou of Yuxian, Hebei. In IVPP (Ed.), Contributions to the XIII INQUA (pp. 100–131). Beijing: Beijing Science and Technology Publishing House (in Chinese with English summary).Google Scholar
  65. Zheng, S.-H., & Han, D.-F. (1991). Quaternary mammals of China. In T.-S. Liu (Ed.), Quaternary geology and environment in China (pp. 101–114). Beijing: Science Press.Google Scholar
  66. Zheng, S.-H., Huang, W.-P., Zong, G.-F., & the Yellow River Elephant Research Team (1975). Huanghe River Stegodon (pp. 1–46). Beijing: Science Press.Google Scholar
  67. Zheng, S.-H., & Li, C.-K. (1986). A review of Chinese Mimomys (Arvicolidae, Rodentia). Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 24, 81–109.Google Scholar
  68. Zheng, S.-H., & Li, C.-K. (1990). Comments on fossil arvicolids of China. In O. Fejfar & W.-D. Heinrich (Eds.), International symposium: Evolution, phylogeny and biostratigraphy of arvicolids (Rodentia, Mammalia) (pp. 431–442). Prague: Geological Survey.Google Scholar
  69. Zheng, S.-H., & Li, Y. (1982). Some Pliocene lagomorphs and rodent from Loc. 1 of Songshan, Tianzuxian, Gansu Province. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 20, 35–44 (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  70. Zheng, S.-H., & Zhang, Z.-Q. (2000). Late Miocene–Early Pleistocene micromammals from Wenwanggou of Lingtai, Gansu, China. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 38, 58–71.Google Scholar
  71. Zheng, S.-H., & Zhang, Z.-Q. (2001). Late Miocene–Early Pleistocene biostratigraphy of the Leijiahe area, Lingtai, Gansu. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 39, 215–228.Google Scholar
  72. Zheng, S.-H., Zhang, Z.-Q., & Cui, N. (2004). On some species of Prosiphneus (Siphneidae, Rodentia) and the origin of Siphneidae. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 42, 297–315.Google Scholar
  73. Zong, G.-F. (1981). Pleistocene mammals from Tunliu, Shanxi. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 19, 174–183.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of PaleomammalogyInstitute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations