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A skull of Simocyon primigenius (Roth & Wagner, 1854) (Carnivora, Ailuridae) from the late Miocene of Karaslari (Republic of Macedonia), with remarks on the systematics and evolution of the genus

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A well preserved skull of the Miocene ailurid Simocyon primigenius (Roth & Wagner, 1854) from the fossil locality of Karaslari, Veles region (Republic of Macedonia), briefly described by Garevski (1974), is re-examined. It reveals the skull morphology of the species and contributes to the understanding of the evolution of the genus. The skull of the middle Turolian Simocyon primigenius from South-Eastern Europe has unique and derived characteristics, related to a high morpho-functional specialisation: strongly domed and enlarged frontal region that would be correlated with large frontal sinuses. It is concluded that the Chinese material of Simocyon from Baode (Zdansky 1924), previously included in the same species, should instead be called S. zdanskyi Kretzoi in Kadić & Kretzoi 1927, of which the Fugu skull (Wang 1997) is probably an early representative (chronostage). The peculiar skull morphology of Simocyon primigenius could be related either to the development of the olfactory sense, or to skull reorganization linked with an emphasis of bite power on the carnassials and molars.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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