Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

Research Article

A new tribe, new genus and two new species of Barbourofelinae (Felidae, Carnivora, Mammalia) from the Early Miocene of East Africa and Spain

J. Moralesa1, M. J. Salesaa1, M. Pickforda2 and D. Soriaa1

a1 Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC José Gutierrez Abascal 2, E-28006, Spain e-mail: mcnm166@mncn.csic.es

a2 Collège de France and Laboratoire de Paléontologie, UMR 8569 du CNRS, 8 rue Buffon, F-75005, France e-mail: pickford@mnhn.fr

ABSTRACT

A new genus and species of felid, Ginsburgsmilus napakensis, is described from Napak, Uganda. Material from Songhor, Kenya, previously identified as Afrosmilus turkanae by Schmidt-Kittler (1987) is assigned to this species. A new species of Afrosmilus, A. hispanicus, is described from Artesilla, Spain. These new felid species combine sabre-tooth canines of maochairodont type with cheek teeth similar to those of Pseudailurus. Phylogenetically they are close to Afrosmilus turkanae which shows a greater specialisation towards markedly machairodont forms. On the basis of dental features, we propose a close relationship between these two genera (which we group into the new tribe Afrosmilini) and the tribe Barbourofelini (Sansanosmilus and Barbourofelis), the transition between the two being represented in the fossil record by Prosansanosmilus peregrinus Heizmann et al. 1980.

(Received March 03 2000)

(Accepted March 12 2000)

KEY WORDS

  • biogeography;
  • evolution;
  • systematics