Mammuthus subplanifrons

Mammuthus subplanifrons is the oldest representative of the genus Mammuthus, known from around 6.2-3.75 million years ago during the late Miocene-early Pliocene in what is today South Africa and countries of East Africa, especially Ethiopia. They already presented some of the unique characteristics of mammoths like the spirally, twisting tusks.[1]

Mammuthus subplanifrons
Temporal range: Late Miocene-Early Pliocene 6.2–3.75 Ma
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae
Genus: Mammuthus
M. subplanifrons
Binomial name
Mammuthus subplanifrons
(Osborn, 1928)

Loxodonta adaurora (Maglio, 1970)

Taxonomy edit

The species was first named as Archidiskodon subplanifrons by Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1928. The type specimen is a partial lower third molar (MMK 3920) collected from the Vaal River in South Africa. However, it has been subsequently argued that this specimen does not actually belong to Mammuthus, but instead is actually a specimen of Loxodonta, and thus a neotype should be selected that actually belongs to Mammuthus. The species is primarily known from dental remains.[2] A 2016 study attributed the skull and partial skeleton KNM-KP 385 to the species,[3] but this in error and actually represents the holotype skeleton of Loxodonta adaurora.[2] In 2009, it was suggested that Loxodonta adaurora is indistinguishable from Mammuthus subplanifrons.[4] However, other authors have continued to regard the species as distinct,[5] and contend that the similarities between the two species are superficial.[2] Tusks attributed to the species suggest that they were twisted like later mammoth species.[1][2]

Range edit

Specimens have been reported from South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, and possibly Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, spanning from around 6.2 to 3.75 million years ago.[6]

Ecology edit

Isotope analysis of specimens from South Africa suggests that M. subplanifrons was a flexible feeder.[7]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Lister, Adrian; Bahn, Paul. (1 October 2007). Mammoths: giants of the ice age. Frances Lincoln LTD. p. 23. ISBN 9780711228016.
  2. ^ a b c d Sanders, William J. (2023-07-07). Evolution and Fossil Record of African Proboscidea (1 ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press. pp. 208–212. doi:10.1201/b20016. ISBN 978-1-315-11891-8.
  3. ^ Larramendi, A. (2016). "Shoulder height, body mass and shape of proboscideans" (PDF). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 61. doi:10.4202/app.00136.2014.
  4. ^ The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology Volume 293, Issue 1, Article first published online: 20 NOV 2009:, retrieved 2 December 2011.
  5. ^ Sanders, William J. (March 2020). "Proboscidea from Kanapoi, Kenya". Journal of Human Evolution. 140: 102547. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.10.013.
  6. ^ Sanders, William J. (2023-07-07). Evolution and Fossil Record of African Proboscidea (1 ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press. pp. 155, 220. doi:10.1201/b20016. ISBN 978-1-315-11891-8.
  7. ^ Groenewald, Patricia A.; Sealy, Judith; Stynder, Deano; Smith, Kathlyn M. (April 2020). "Dietary resource partitioning among three coeval proboscidean taxa (Anancus capensis, Mammuthus subplanifrons, Loxodonta cookei) from the South African Early Pliocene locality of Langebaanweg E Quarry". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 543: 109606. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2020.109606.