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A New Species of the Basal "Kangaroo'' Balbaroo and a Re-Evaluation of Stem Macropodiform Interrelationships
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
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2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 11, p. e112705-Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Exceptionally well-preserved skulls and postcranial elements of a new species of the plesiomorphic stem macropodiform Balbaroo have been recovered from middle Miocene freshwater limestone deposits in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area of northwestern Queensland, Australia. This constitutes the richest intraspecific sample for any currently known basal "kangaroo'', and, along with additional material referred to Balbaroo fangaroo, provides new insights into structural variability within the most prolific archaic macropodiform clade - Balbaridae. Qualitative and metric evaluations of taxonomic boundaries demonstrate that the previously distinct species Nambaroo bullockensis is a junior synonym of B. camfieldensis. Furthermore, coupled Maximum Parsimony and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses reveal that our new Balbaroo remains represent the most derived member of the Balbaroo lineage, and are closely related to the middle Miocene B. camfieldensis, which like most named balbarid species is identifiable only from isolated jaws. The postcranial elements of Balbaroo concur with earlier finds of the stratigraphically oldest balbarid skeleton, Nambaroo gillespieae, and suggest that quadrupedal progression was a primary gait mode as opposed to bipedal saltation. All Balbaroo spp. have low-crowned bilophodont molars, which are typical for browsing herbivores inhabiting the densely forested environments envisaged for middle Miocene northeastern Australia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 9, no 11, p. e112705-
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-240097DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112705ISI: 000345533200034PubMedID: 25409233OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-240097DiVA, id: diva2:775933
Available from: 2015-01-05 Created: 2015-01-05 Last updated: 2018-01-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Evolutionary Progression of the Iconic Australasian Kangaroos, Rat-Kangaroos, and their Fossil Relatives (Marsupialia: Macropodiformes)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evolutionary Progression of the Iconic Australasian Kangaroos, Rat-Kangaroos, and their Fossil Relatives (Marsupialia: Macropodiformes)
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The exceptionally diverse macropodiform’s (kangaroos, rat-kangaroos and their fossil allies) currently have a fossil record that spans from the late Oligocene to the Holocene with an Australasian widespread fossil occurence. The origins of the macropodiforms are believed to have been during the Eocene possibly having split from the Phalangeridae. This is largely based on molecular data as there is a complete lack of macropodiform fossil material prior to the late Oligocene leaving the origins of the macropodiforms to be largely speculative. Thus, late Oligocene rat-kangaroo dental fossil elements associated with Palaeopotorous priscus (which shares characteristics observed in both phalangerid and macropodiforms) were examined to get a better insight into the potential origins of the macropodiforms. The results obtained suggested that P. priscus is currently the most basal macropodiform known. Furthermore, due to the absence of adequate macropodiform post-cranial material, the functional eco-morphological interpretation of various macropodiform fossil taxa has been based largely on cranial and dental characteristics. Consequently, the examination of Miocene Balbaridae kangaroo’s (Balbaroo nalima and an untaxonomised balbarid) post-cranial elements was undertaken, suggesting an array of locomotion types (similar to living macropodiforms) and a likely persistent arboreal and quadrupedal lifestyle. In addition, the Pleistocene Protemnodon anak’s post-cranial material are examined, proposing a probable combination of quadrupedal bounding and a slow walking gait alternative to the eminent fast bipedal saltation seen in almost all extant macropodiforms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2018. p. 105
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1624
Keyword
macropodiforms, kangaroos, rat-kangaroos, fossil ancestors, post-cranial, eco-morphology, systematic, phylogeny
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-339593 (URN)978-91-513-0216-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-03-09, Hamberg, Geocentrum, Department of Earth Sciences, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
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Available from: 2018-02-16 Created: 2018-01-21 Last updated: 2018-03-07

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