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A new genus and species of sigmodontine cricetids, Cholomys pearsonl, from the Lower Pleistocene Vorohué Formation of south-eastern Buenos Aires Province. Argentina, is described. Its closest relative among the extant and extinct cricetids proved to be the living Wiedomys pyrrhorhinus of Brazil. Wiedomys and Cholomys are included in a new tribe of the Sigmodontinae, Wiedomyini. The distinction between the North American and the South American cricetids is stressed, the two groups being postulated to pertain to different subfamilies. The names Neotominae and Sigmodontinae are chosen for these two taxa, respectively. A tribal classification of the Sigmodontinae is advanced. Oryzomyini, Akodontini, Scapteromyini, Phyllotini, Sigmodontini, lehthyomyini and Wiedomyini are recognized as natural tribes of the Sigmodontinae. This broad array of suprageneric groupings reflecting different adaptive types strongly supports the hypothesis that the differentiation of the Sigmodontinae took place in South America from a primitive cricetid immigrant stock which entered South America, probably from North America, not later than during Miocene times.