Friday, August 11, 2006
Fossils of a new hoofed mammal that resembles a cross between a dog and a hare which once roamed the Andes Mountains in southern Bolivia around 13 million years ago was discovered by Darin A. Croft, assistant professor of anatomy at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a research associate at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
With Federico Anaya from Universidad Autonoma Tomas Frias, Croft reported on the new mammal find named Hemihegetotherium trilobus in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology article, 'A New Middle Miocene Hegetotherid (Notoungulata: Typotheria) and a Phylogeny of the Hegetotheriidae.' (Abstract) It is named for the distinctive three lobes on its back lower molar teeth.
The animal belonged to a group of animals called notoungulates—hoofed mammals native only to South America. The group originated in South America soon after the dinosaurs went extinct and evolved to include hundreds of species over a span of more than 50 million years; all of them are now extinct.