The first species of Sinopa (Hyaenodontida, Mammalia) from outside of North America: implications for the history of the genus in the Eocene of Asia and North America



The first Sinopa species, S. jilinia sp. nov., from outside of North America is described. It comes from the Huadian Formation, locality Gonglangtou, Jilin Province, north-east China. The new species represents the northernmost and one of the latest and most complete Asian Prototomus-like hyaenodontidans known. It also represents one of the youngest specimens of Sinopa, because the age of the Huadian Formation is correlated to the later Uintan and only one doubtful citation of North American Sinopa younger than the early Uintan exists. S. jilinia sp. nov. is characterized by having m3 clearly smaller than m1, very strong and extended labial molar cingulids, backward leaning protoconids in all molars and its m3 cristid obliquum joining the postvallid very labially. With S. jilina, Sinopa is the first hyaenodontidan genus known to be present on two continents during the time interval between the earliest Eocene (c. 55.0 Ma) and latest middle Eocene (40 Ma). Its occurrence in the Huadian Formation supports the idea of a faunal exchange between North America and Asia in the early middle Eocene, a hypothesis formerly based mainly on the presence of the omomyid primate Asiomomys in the Huadian Formation, on a small radiation of East Asian trogosine tillodonts and on a couple of perissodactyl genera shared between the middle Eocene of North America and the Irdinmanhan of East Asia. As with the new Sinopa species, these Asian taxa had their closest relatives in North America.