New adapiform primate of Old World affinities from the Devil's Graveyard Formation of Texas

J Hum Evol. 2011 Aug;61(2):156-68. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2011.02.014. Epub 2011 May 14.


Most adapiform primates from North America are members of an endemic radiation of notharctines. North American notharctines flourished during the Early and early Middle Eocene, with only two genera persisting into the late Middle Eocene. Here we describe a new genus of adapiform primate from the Devil's Graveyard Formation of Texas. Mescalerolemur horneri, gen. et sp. nov., is known only from the late Middle Eocene (Uintan) Purple Bench locality. Phylogenetic analyses reveal that Mescalerolemur is more closely related to Eurasian and African adapiforms than to North American notharctines. In this respect, M. horneri is similar to its sister taxon Mahgarita stevensi from the late Duchesnean of the Devil's Graveyard Formation. The presence of both genera in the Big Bend region of Texas after notharctines had become locally extinct provides further evidence of faunal interchange between North America and East Asia during the middle Eocene. The fact that Mescalerolemur and Mahgarita are both unknown outside of Texas also supports prior hypotheses that low-latitude faunal assemblages in North America demonstrate increased endemism by the late middle Eocene.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Fossils*
  • Mandible / anatomy & histology
  • Palate / anatomy & histology
  • Phylogeny
  • Primates / anatomy & histology
  • Primates / classification*
  • Primates / genetics
  • Texas
  • Tooth / anatomy & histology