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Early Palaeogene Louisinidae (Macroscelidea, Mammalia), their relationships and north European diversity



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    1. Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
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    1. USM203/UMR7207, CNRS, MNHN, UPMC, Centre de Recherches sur la Paléobiodiversité et les Paléoenvironnements, Département Histoire de la Terre, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Case Postale 38, 57 rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
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Seventeen species from the Palaeocene and Early Eocene of northern Europe, of which 12 are new, are described belonging to the extinct macroscelidean family Louisinidae, raised here from subfamily rank. These species belong to nine genera, of which five are new. The new genera are Walbeckodon, Berrulestes, Gigarton, Thryptodon, and Prolouisina. The new species are Walbeckodon krumbiegeli, Walbeckodon girardi, Paschatherium levei, Berrulestes phelizoni, Berrulestes pellouini, Berrulestes poirieri, Gigarton meyeri, Gigarton sigogneauae, Gigarton louisi, Thryptodon brailloni, Louisina marci, and Teilhardimys brisswalteri. Prolouisina is erected for ‘Louisinaatavella Russell, 1964. Cladistic analysis was undertaken to understand the relationships within the Louisinidae and between them and the North American family Apheliscidae, in which they had earlier been included as a subfamily. Louisinidae are shown to be sister group to a clade consisting of Apheliscidae plus Amphilemuridae and part of a paraphyletic and polyphyletic Adapisoricidae, all of which are tentatively considered to be stem members of the order Macroscelidea. The most primitive macroscelidid, Chambius, from the Early Eocene of northern Africa is nested within Apheliscidae when postcranial characters were included, but in a majority of cases within the Louisinidae when postcranial characters were excluded. Most species from northern Europe became extinct at the end of the Palaeocene, although the genus Paschatherium survived for much of the Early Eocene and Teilhardimys survived into the earliest Eocene.

© 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 164, 856–936.