skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "dePolo, Paige E."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. In the wake of the end-Cretaceous extinction, pantodonts were among the first mammals to achieve truly large body sizes. Paleocene pantodonts occupied large herbivore niches across North America, Asia, and Europe. In North America, the Torrejonian genus, Pantolambda, encompasses three species ranging from large dog- to small cow-sized. Of the three species, P. intermedium is the most poorly represented with known material consisting of a fragmentary dentary with m1-2 and isolated lower premolars. All the originally referred material was recovered from the Gidley Quarry, Montana. We describe cranial and postcranial fragments of the species from the Nacimiento Formation of the San Juan Basin (SJB), New Mexico. Interestingly, although it is intermediate in size between P. bathmodon and P. cavirictum, P. intermedium occurs lower in the stratigraphy (Tj2) than these other species and is the first appearance of pantodonts in the SJB. The presence of P. intermedium in the SJB is validated with a worn dentary (NMMMNH P-19774) containing m1-2. A pronounced entoconid on m1 and m2 distinguishes these teeth from those of P. cavirictum, whose entoconid is weakly developed, and from those of P. bathmodon, which lacks an entoconid on the anterolingually-sloping postcristid. An isolated m3 (NMMNH P-72117) shows a partial, narrow trigonid with a wide talonid basin that is shallower than in P. bathmodon. A concreted, partial braincase (NMMNH P- 21646) bears low sagittal and nuchal crests similar to P. bathmodon. A partial scapula (NMMNH P-21647) preserves the glenoid region and the distal portion of the scapular body. The glenoid cavity is an elongated oval that tapers anteriorly to a prominent, triangular supraglenoid tubercle. A coracoid process distinct from the tubercle is not present. A similar pattern is observed in P. bathmodon. The condition observed in Pantolambda contrasts with other pantodonts. Alcidedorbigna possesses a relatively small tubercle distinct from a rounded coracoid process and the larger-bodied pantodonts, Barylambda and Coryphodon, exhibit both a prominent tubercle and a well-developed coracoid process. A prior hypothesis posited that P. intermedium from Montana could simply represent larger morphs of P. bathmodon following Bergmann’s Rule. However, the presence of P. intermedium in New Mexico in a similar environment to and at the same latitude as P. bathmodon and P. cavirictum supports its distinction from the other two morphs as a unique species. Funding Sources European Research Council Starting Grant (ERC StG 2017, 756226, PalM); National Science Foundation (NSF; EAR 1654952, DEB 1654949) 
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    The rise of mammals after the extinction of the dinosaurs remains one of the most enigmatic intervals in the evolution of mammals. A relatively sparse Paleocene fossil record and confusing interrelationships between taxa means that little is known of the evolution, ecology, and biology of these animals. As a result, the life history of these organisms is completely unstudied, despite likely playing a key role in the ability of these clades to rapidly proliferate and increase in body size in recovering ecosystems. However, intensive collection efforts in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico in the last decade have drastically improved the record of many Paleocene mammals, and offer the first opportunity to address questions about the life history of these animals. Here, we present preliminary results of an in-depth paleohistological analysis of Pantolambda bathmodon, an early, possibly gregarious pantodont, using an ontogenetic series of individuals. Pantodonts were bizarre, herbivorous eutherians of unknown phylogenetic affinity, and were among the first mammal lineages to reach large body sizes in the Paleocene. In examining both dental and skeletal records of growth from the same individuals, including a juvenile still bearing deciduous teeth, our study is among the most comprehensive paleohistological analyses of any fossil mammal. This intensive approach allows for unprecedented insights into the life history of this species. Neonatal lines in the teeth indicate that the deciduous premolars and the first upper molar were erupted prior to birth, similar to precocious, nidifugous mammals today. Daily incremental lines in the enamel and dentine suggest rapid crown formation times (~45–70 days) and a gestation period of at least 15 weeks. A stress line in the postcranial bones, recording an anomalous decrease in growth towards the end of this individual’s life, may represent the weaning event. In the absence of geochemical evidence, it is unclear which of two stress lines in the teeth corresponds to this event, but these lines occur roughly one and two months after birth, respectively. The weanling perished approximately 2.5 months after birth, weighing about 17 kg. An adult individual exhibiting severe wear on the dentition allows us to estimate maximum longevity in Pantolambda bathmodon at about 7 years. In comparison with life history data on living mammals from the PanTheria dataset, Pantolambda bathmodon had a gestation length and weaning duration below average for a placental of its adult body size (42 kg), but within the range of known variation. However, its lifespan was exceptionally short, falling outside the bounds of comparable living mammals. Together, these lines of evidence suggest a relatively rapid pace of life in Pantolambda bathmodon, despite its relatively large body size. Ongoing sampling of more individuals and geochemical analyses should allow for estimation of time to sexual maturity and help to confirm the identity of the weaning line, completing our picture of the life history of this pioneering species. 
    more » « less