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A new small carnivoran from the Middle Miocene of Fort Ternan, Kenya

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Abstract:

The complete cranium and upper dentition of a new genus and species of small feliform carnivoran from the Middle Miocene (ca. 14 Ma) of Fort Ternan, western Kenya, is described. The external features of the auditory bulla and basicranium show that it is likely to be a member of the Viverridae, the oldest to be described from an intact skull in Africa. The new taxon differs from the previously described African small feliformians Kichechia and Legetetia in being more hypercarnivorous, from Leptoplesictis rangwai in its greater size and the shape of P4, and from Africanictis and " Stenoplesictis " muhoronii in being less hypercarnivorous. It is most similar to Herpestides aequatorialis, but differs in details of the structure of P4. Ecologically the new form probably filled a niche similar to that of modern-day genets.

Keywords: AFRICA; CARNIVORA; HERPESTIDAE; KENYA; MIOCENE; VIVERRIDAE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1127/0077-7749/2008/0248-0233

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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