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Evolution des Aplodontidae Oligocènes Européens
Norbert Schmidt-Kittler and Monique Vianey-Liaud
Keywords: Aplodontidae; Europe; Oligocene

    Until now Aplodontidae of the European Oligocene have been documented by four species only. The phylogenetic relations remained obscure. as the distribution of only one species has been known in some detail. New material made it possible to define the stratigraphic range of two of the already existing species (Plesispermophilus angustidens, Sciurodon cadurcense) and to follow their development during the Oligocene beginning with the event of the « Grande Coupure ››. Sciurodon remained nearly without change until the end of the Middle Oligocene. Plesispermophilus angustidens split into two distinct phyletic lines, one of which (P. macrodon n. sp.) reaching considerable size, is represented till the beginning of the Upper Oligocene (Pech de Fraysse, Gaimersheim). The other line leads to Plesispermophilus ernii (basal Upper Oligocene of Burgmagerbein 1. terminal Upper Oligocene of Coderet). Besides the already known forms a new small-sized species (P. atavus n. sp.) is described, which by its primitive features closely resembles the genus Plesispermophilus. Two other small-sized species already known from the Upper Oligocene (? P. argoviensis) and Lower Miocene (? P. descedens) seem to be closely related to the new species. It cannot be decided whether they are descendents of this line or have developed independently, because of their poor fossil record.
    Comparison of the evolutionary modalities in the different phylogenetic lines reveals general trends. the most striking of which is the complication of the tooth pattern by the development of additional crests. In the lower molars the cusps diminuate in size and are more and more transformed into ridges. ln addition new connection between the crests appear. in the upper molars, the « selenodont » shape of the teeth becomes more and more dominant, and in the two main evolutionary lines of Plesispermophilus the metaconulus becomes duplicated. A further evolutionary trend is the size increase of the premolars compared to the molars, which is even more pronounced in the Miocene Aplodontidae.
    Phylogenetic relations between the primitive Plesispermophilus and certain « prociurines ›› of Northern America as well as between Plesispermophilus (P. angustidens) and more progressive forms of the Upper Oligocene (P. ernii, P. macrodon n. sp.) can be documented. In this light, the taxonomic distinction between Prosciurinae (bunodont) and Allomyinae (selenodont) sensu Rensberger 1976 can be shown to be artificial, because it separates forms from each other, which are evidently closely related. Consequently the separation into two subfamilies has been abolished. 

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Published in Vol. 09, Fasc. 2 (1979)