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The diversity, age, biogeographic and phylogenetic relationships of Plio-Pleistocene suids from Kromdraai, South Africa

  • Journal Title: Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History
  • Volume: Volume 3
  • Issue: 
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 11  - 32
  • Authors:  Martin Pickford;
  • ISSN: 22204563
  • Abstract:  Reassessment of the suid fauna from Kromdraai, South Africa, including some undescribed fossils, reveals that there are three taxa at the site, Phacochoerus modestus and Metridiochoerus andrewsi (Stage III) from Kromdraai A and Potamochoeroides hypsodon from Kromdraai B. The length of m/3 of Metridiochoerus andrewsi from Kromdraai plots slightly above the mean of 32 specimens from the Koobi Fora Formation, Kenya, suggesting that the Kromdraai A deposits are aged about 1.8-1.6 Ma. The presence of Potamochoeroides hypsodon at Kromdraai B indicates an earlier age for the deposits there, equivalent to some of the Makapansgat sediments. A study of African, European and Asian Pliocene suid fossils indicates that the earliest known African representative of the Suinae, attributed to Kolpochoerus deheinzelini, is morphometrically so similar to Dasychoerus arvernensis from Europe that it is likely to be a synonym of it, a finding that resolves the long-lasting uncertainty about the origins of the African kolpochoerines and hylochoeres. The metridiochoerines and phacochoerines, by contrast, appear to have descended from a separate, but related, suid lineage 'Postpotamochoerus' provincialis, that entered Africa from Europe slightly later than Dasychoerus arvernensis. The origin of the bushpig, Potamochoerus, is still unresolved, but the genus shares some dental and cranial characters with primitive species of Nyanzachoerus, and it could belong to the Tetracondontinae rather than to the Suinae as traditionally thought: further research is required. Early occurrences of Potamochoerus are known from Spain and China, and the genus might have evolved in Eurasia, and then colonized Africa in the Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene.
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