New Mammal Species

One of the primary goals of field research is to document new species occurrences: discovering a new species or finding remains of a species where none had been found before. Most people think that naming a new species is the ultimate paleontological prize. Although finding and naming new species is an exciting and important part of being a field paleontologist, integrating new species into the “big picture” is actually of greater scientific value.

I am often asked whether the discoverer of a new species gets to name it. The short answer is “yes,” though there are a few caveats. First, to name a species, you have to do more than just discover it. You have to describe it. In other words, you need to write and publish a formal description of the animal in an academic journal or similar medium that follows all the rules set by the International Code for Zoological Nomenclature for how a new species must be named. If you do that then yes, you get to name the species whatever you want. However, it is bad form to name it after yourself, even if you discovered it. If someone else discovered the specimen, it is perfectly fine to name it after him or her. It is also common to name a species for where it was found, the geologic formation in which it was collected, or some distinctive feature of its anatomy. There are no rules about the derivation of a name – a new species can be named for a song or cartoonist or whatever you want – but you have to Latinize it, which usually means giving it a particular types of ending. If there are several authors on a paper describing a new animal, then everyone much reach a consensus on what the new name should be. But within those bounds, there are no limits on what a species can be named.

Listed below are the new species I have described along with some information about them. As is evident from this list, naming new species is usually a collaborative effort.

Altitypotherium_chucalensis

Palatal view of the holotype skull, anterior to the right.

Altitypotherium chucalensis Croft, Flynn, and Wyss, 2004
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Mesotheriidae
Type Locality: Chucal Fauna, northern Chile
Age: 19-17.5 million years old; Santacrucian SALMA
Etymology: The genus is named after the Altiplano, where the Chucal Fauna is located; “typotherium” is a common suffix for mesotheriid genera. The species is named after Chucal.

Altitypotherium_paucidens

Lateral view of the holotype rostrum, anterior to the left.

Altitypotherium paucidens Croft, Flynn, and Wyss, 2004
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Mesotheriidae
Type Locality: Chucal Fauna, northern Chile
Age: 19-17.5 million years old; Santacrucian SALMA
Etymology: The genus is named after the Altiplano, where the Chucal Fauna is located; “typotherium” is a common suffix for mesotheriid genera. The specific epithet means “few teeth” and refers to the characteristic lack of the third upper premolar in this species.

Andemys_termasi

Lateral view of the holotype lower jaw bearing the base of the incisor and most of the four cheek teeth, anterior to the right.

Andemys termasi Bertrand, Flynn, Croft, and Wyss, 2012
Classification: Rodentia: Caviomorpha: Dasyproctidae (pan-Dasyproctidae)
Type Locality: Tinguiririca Fauna, central Chile
Age: 33-31 million years old; Tinguirirican SALMA
Etymology: The genus is named for the Andes Mountains, where the fossil was found. The species epithet refers to Termas del Flaco, the town closest to the fossil locality of Tinguiririca.

Tinguiririca

Occlusal view of the holotype upper jaw bearing six teeth, anterior to the right.

Archaeotypotherium pattersoni Croft, Bond, Flynn, Reguero, and Wyss, 2003
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Hegetotheria: Archaeohyracidae
Type Locality: Tinguiririca Fauna, central Chile
Age: 33-31 million years old; Tinguirirican SALMA
Etymology: The genus was named by Santiago Roth in 1903. (Although the name includes “typotherium,” it is not a mesotheriid.) The specific epithet is named after Bryan Patterson, a well-known paleontologist who studied South American mammals.

Palatal view of a cast of the holotype palate, nose to the left

Palatal view of a cast of the holotype palate, anterior to the left.

Archaeotypotherium tinguiriricaense Croft, Bond, Flynn, Reguero, and Wyss, 2003
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Hegetotheria: Archaeohyracidae
Type Locality: Tinguiririca Fauna, central Chile
Age: 33-31 million years old; Tinguirirican SALMA
Etymology: The genus was named by Santiago Roth in 1903. (Even though the name includes “typotherium,” it is not a mesotheriid.) The specific epithet refers to Tinguiririca, the type locality.

Bubalus_cebuensis

Reconstruction (by V. Simeonovski) compared to a modern water buffalo, a tamaraw, and a human.

Bubalus cebuensis Croft, Heaney, Flynn, and Bautista, 2006
Classification: Artiodactyla: Ruminantia: Bovidae: Bovinae
Type Locality: Cebu Island, Philippines
Age: unknown; probably < 10,000 years old
Etymology: The genus was named by Charles Hamilton-Smith in 1827. The species is named after Cebu Island, the type locality.

Cachiyacuy_contamanensis

Occlusal view of the holotype, a right upper second molar, anterior toward top of page.

Cachiyacuy contamanensis Antoine, Marivaux, Croft, Billet, Ganerød, Jaramillo, et al., 2012
Classification: Rodentia: Caviomorpha
Type Locality: CTA-27, near Contamana, eastern Peru
Age: at least 41 million years old; Casamayoran (Barrancan) SALMA
Etymology: The genus is named for the nearby Cachiyacu River and the Quechua (indigenous) word for guinea pig, cuy. The species is named after the nearby town of Contamana.

Cachiyacuy kummeli

Occlusal view of the right lower dentition, anterior to the right.

Cachiyacuy kummeli Antoine, Marivaux, Croft, Billet, Ganerød, Jaramillo, et al., 2012
Classification: Rodentia: Caviomorpha
Type Locality: CTA-27, near Contamana, eastern Peru
Age: at least 41 million years old; Casamayoran (Barrancan) SALMA
Etymology: The genus is named for the nearby Cachiyacu River and the Quechua (indigenous) word for guinea pig, cuy. The species is named after Bernhard Kummel, a geologist who mapped the rocks in the area in the 1940s.

Canaanimys_maquiensis

Reconstruction by Maëva Orliac.

Canaanimys maquiensis Antoine, Marivaux, Croft, Billet, Ganerød, Jaramillo, et al., 2012
Classification: Rodentia: Caviomorpha
Type Locality: CTA-27, near Contamana, eastern Peru
Age: at least 41 million years old; Casamayoran (Barrancan) SALMA
Etymology: The genus is named for Canaan, a nearby indigenous (Shipibo) community; “mys” means mouse and is a common suffix for rodent genera. The species is named after Maquía, the area where the type locality is located.

Caraguatypotherium_munozi

Lateral view of the holotype skull, anterior to the right

Caraguatypotherium munozi Flynn, Croft, Charrier, Wyss, Hérail, and García, 2005
Classification: Notoungulata: Toxodontia: Mesotheriidae
Type Locality: Caragua, northern Chile
Age: probably 12-10 million years old; Mayoan SALMA (?)
Etymology: The genus is named for Caragua; “typotherium” is a common suffix for mesotheriid genera. The species is named after Nelson Muñoz, the Chilean geologist who discovered the specimen.

Chilestylops holotype

Occlusal view (photo above, line drawing below) of the left upper teeth of the holotype, anterior to left.

Chilestylops davidsoni Bradham, Flynn, Croft, and Wyss, 2015
Classification: Notoungulata: Notostylopidae
Type Locality: Tinguiririca Fauna, central Chile
Age: 33-31 million years old; Tinguirirican SALMA
Etymology: The genus combines Chile, the country where the holotype was found, with “stylops,” the common suffix for notostylopid names. The species is named for John Davidson, a geologist who made important studies of the area in the early 1970s.

Chimeralestes

Lateral view of holotype dentary (preserving partial m2 and complete m3-4), anterior to right.

Chimeralestes ambiguus Engelman, Anaya, and Croft, 2016
Classification: Paucituberculata: Palaeothentidae
Type Locality: Quebrada Honda, southern Bolivia
Age: 13-12 million years old; Laventan SALMA
Etymology: The genus name combines Chimera, in reference to the mixture of features present in this species, with lestes, meaning robber or thief, a common suffix for palaeothentids. The specific epithet refers to its uncertain phylogenetic position in its family.

Colpodon_antucoensis

Oblique occlusal view of the left side of the holotype palate, anterior to the left.

Colpodon antucoensis Shockey, Flynn, Croft, Gans, and Wyss, 2012
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Leontiniidae
Type Locality: Laguna del Laja, south-central Chile
Age: about 19.5 million years old; Colhuehuapian SALMA
Etymology: The genus was named by Burmeister in 1885. The species is named after Volcán Antuco, a picturesque volcano near the fossil locality.

Elmerriggsia_fieldia

Occlusal view of the right upper teeth of the holotype, anterior to the right (from Patterson 1934).

Elmerriggsia fieldia Shockey, Flynn, Croft, Gans, and Wyss, 2012
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Leontiniidae
Type Locality: Pico Truncado, Santa Cruz Province, southern Argentina
Age: 29-27 million years old; Deseadan SALMA
Etymology: The genus is named for Elmer Riggs, who collected this and many other specimens for the Field Museum in 1924 as leader of the fist Marshall Field Expedition. The species is named after the museum and the expedition.

Eotypotherium_chico

Occlusal view of a referred left upper jaw bearing 3.5 teeth (two premolars, and 1.5 molars).

Eotypotherium chico Croft, Flynn, and Wyss, 2004
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Mesotheriidae
Type Locality: Chucal, northern Chile
Age: 19-17.5 million years old; Santacrucian SALMA
Etymology: The genus name includes the prefix “Eo” (dawn) in reference to the early age and basal position of this species; “typotherium” is a common suffix for mesotheriid genera. The specific epithet chico, Spanish for small, refers to the small size of the species.

Eoviscaccia_frassinettii

Occlusal view of the holotype right lower jaw, which includes four mostly-complete cheek teeth. Anterior to the left.

Eoviscaccia frassinettii Bertrand, Flynn, Croft, and Wyss, 2012
Classification: Rodentia: Caviomorpha: Chinchillidae (pan-Chinchillidae)
Type Locality: Tinguiririca Fauna, central Chile
Age: 33-31 million years old; Tinguirirican SALMA
Etymology: The genus was named by Vucetich in 1989. The species is named after Daniel Frassinetti, a Chilean paleontologist, collaborator, and friend.

Occlusal view of the holotype right lower jaw, which preserves the last premolar and all three molars. Anterior to the right.

Hegetotherium cerdasensis Croft, Carlini, Ciancio, Brandoni, Drew, Engelman, and Anaya, 2016
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Hegetotheria: Hegetotheriidae
Type Locality: Cerdas, southwest Bolivia
Age: 16.3-15.1 million years old; Colloncuran SALMA
Etymology: The genus was named by Ameghino in 1887. The species is named for the fossil locality where it was discovered.

Hemihegetotherium_trilobus

Reconstruction by V. Simeonovski. Copyright D. Croft.

Hemihegetotherium trilobus Croft and Anaya, 2006
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Hegetotheria: Hegetotheriidae
Type Locality: Quebrada Honda, southern Bolivia
Age: 13-12 million years old; Laventan SALMA
Etymology: The genus was named by Rovereto in 1914. The species is named for its characteristic three-lobed last lower molar (m3).

Mesoprocta_hypsodus

Reconstruction by V. Simeonovski. Copyright D. Croft.

Mesoprocta hypsodus Croft, Chick, and Anaya, 2011
Classification: Rodentia: Caviomorpha: Dasyproctidae
Type Locality: Quebrada Honda, southern Bolivia
Age: 13-12 million years old; Laventan SALMA
Etymology: The genus name refers to the middle latitudes of South America (Meso) and to the family (procta). The specific epithet refers to its high-crowned teeth.

Miocochilius federicoi

Occlusal view of the holotype palate, anterior to the right.

Miocochilius federicoi Croft, 2007
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Interatheriidae
Type Locality: Quebrada Honda, southern Bolivia
Age: 13-12 million years old; Laventan SALMA
Etymology: The genus was named by Robert Stirton in 1953. The species is named for Federico Anaya, in honor of his contributions to vertebrate paleontology in Bolivia.

P. relictus

Lateral view of the holotype dentary (the two teeth are m1-2), anterior to right.

Palaeothentes relictus Engelman, Anaya, and Croft, 2016
Classification: Paucituberculata: Palaeothentidae
Type Locality: Quebrada Honda, southern Bolivia
Age: 13-12 million years old; Laventan SALMA
Etymology: The genus was named by Florentino Ameghino in 1897. The specific epithet refers to the species’ status as one of the last known members of its family.

P. serratus

Lateral view of the holotype dentary, anterior to right.

Palaeothentes serratus Engelman, Anaya, and Croft, 2016
Classification: Paucituberculata: Palaeothentidae
Type Locality: Quebrada Honda, southern Bolivia
Age: 13-12 million years old; Laventan SALMA
Etymology: The genus was named by Florentino Ameghino in 1897. The specific epithet, which means saw-like, refers to the extra cusp on the last lower premolar of this species.

Parapropalaeohoplophorus_septentrionalis

Reconstruction by V. Simeonovski. Copyright D. Croft.

Parapropalaehoplophorus septentrionalis Croft, Flynn, and Wyss, 2007
Classification: Xenarthra: Cingulata: Glyptodontidae
Type Locality: Chucal, northern Chile
Age: 19-17.5 million years old; Santacrucian SALMA
Etymology: The genus name means “near Propalaehoplophorus,” in reference to a well known glyptodont from Argentina; it continues the trend of adding prefixes to Hoplophorus (See Simpson, 1980:87-88). The specific epithet means “northern” and alludes to the location of Chucal in within Chile.

Left upper teeth, anterior to left.

Left upper teeth of the holotype (photo above, line drawing below), anterior to left.

Periphragnis vicentei Bradham, Flynn, Croft, and Wyss, 2015
Classification: Notoungulata: Toxodontia: Homalodotheriidae (probably)
Type Locality: Tinguiririca Fauna, central Chile
Age: 33-31 million years old; Tinguirirican SALMA
Etymology: The genus was named by Santiago Roth in 1899. The species is named for Jean-Claude Vicente, a geologist who made important studies of the area in the early 1970s.

Protarchaeohyrax_intermedium

Occlusal view of a referred palate, anterior to the right

Protarchaeohyrax intermedium Reguero, Croft, Flynn, and Wyss, 2003
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Hegetotheria: Archaeohyracidae
Type Locality: Tinguiririca, central Chile
Age: 33-31 million years old; Tinguirirican SALMA
Etymology: The genus means “first Archaeohyrax.” The species is named for its intermediate size relative to other members of the genus.

Protarchaeohyrax_minor

Occlusal view of the holotype, three teeth of the upper jaw

Protarchaeohyrax minor Reguero, Croft, Flynn, and Wyss, 2003
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Hegetotheria: Archaeohyracidae
Type Locality: Cañadón Blanco, Chubut, Argentina
Age: approx. 33-31 million years old; Tinguirirican SALMA
Etymology: The genus means “first Archaeohyrax.” The species is named for its small size relative to other members of the genus.

Punahyrax bondesioi

Occlusal (left) and lingual (right) views of the holotype, an isolated third molar from the left lower jaw.

Punahyrax bondesioi Reguero, Croft, López, and Alonso, 2008
Classification: Notoungulata: Typotheria: Hegetotheria: Archaeohyracidae
Type Locality: Antofagasta de la Sierra, Catamarca province, Argentina
Age: Unknown, perhaps 45-35 million years old; Mustersan? SALMA
Etymology: “Puna” means “a high land region” in the indigenous language of the region (Quechua) and “hyrax” is a common suffix for archaeohyracid genera. The specific epithet honors Dr. Pedro Bondesio, an esteemed Argentine paleontologist.

Quebradahondomys_potosiensis

Reconstruction by V. Simeonovski. Copyright D. Croft.

Quebradahondomys potosiensis Croft, Chick, and Anaya, 2011
Classification: Rodentia: Caviomorpha: Echimyidae
Type Locality: Quebrada Honda, southern Bolivia
Age: 13-12 million years old; Laventan SALMA
Etymology: The genus name refers to the fossil locality. The specific epithet honors Potosí, where the Universidad Autónoma Tomás Frías is located.

 

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