New early Pliocene Cercopithecidae (Mammalia, Primates) from Aramis, Middle Awash Valley, Ethiopia. American Museum novitates ; no. 3350

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New York, NY : American Museum of Natural History
The Middle Awash Research Project has collected a large sample of fossil cercopithecids from the Aramis, Kuseralee, and Sagantole drainages in the Middle Awash paleoanthropological study area of Ethiopia. These sites have been securely dated to 4.4 Ma. The craniodental material from this assemblage supports the diagnoses of two distinct new genera and species, which are described here. Pliopapio alemui is a mid-sized papionin represented by a complete cranium, several partial jaw fragments, and many isolated teeth. Kuseracolobus aramisi is a medium-sized colobine represented by several maxillae, mandibles, and other cranial fragments, as well as by isolated teeth. Stratigraphically associated postcranial remains will be discussed in a separate report. Pliopapio alemui is distinctive from other known African papionins in the combination of its cranial, mandibular, and dental morphology. It lacks the diagnostic facial features of Parapapio, as well as the flattened muzzle dorsum, facial fossae, and maxillary ridges of Papio. Moreover, it does not possess any of the derived dental and cranial specializations of Theropithecus. Kuseracolobus aramisi is larger than all modern African colobines, but smaller than all known Cercopithecoides, Paracolobus, and Rhinocolobus. It is distinctive from Cercopithecoides and the colobine from Leadu in its symphyseal, corporal, and gonial morphology, and from Libypithecus, Paracolobas, and Rhinocolobus in its facial morphology. This early Pliocene sample fills a temporal gap between the terminal Miocene and later Pliocene sites and documents the existence of two new cercopithecid taxa, increasing known diversity in the family.
36 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 28-29).