Paleocene Mammals from Brazil – #365papers – 2018 – 67

de Paula Couto, 1952, Fossil Mammals from the Beginning of the Cenozoic in Brazil, Condylarthra, Litopterna, Xenungulata, and Astrapotheres: Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, v. 99, 355-394.

What’s it about?

This paper is a listing, with descriptions, of most of the Paleocene mammals of Brazil at the time of its writing (1952). Several new species, genera, families, and even orders are named, in many cases by the author, Carlos de Paula Couto.

Why does it matter?

Volumes such as this, full of brief descriptions, are highly valued in paleontology as a go-to reference when starting research in a new area. This paper lists the various species, plus the holotype specimens for each species, and provides a basic description of some at-the-time new and important animal groups.

Why did I read this?

The author, Carlos de Paula Couto, worked at the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro. Many of the specimens discussed in the paper are housed at the Museu Nacional, or at least I hope they still are after the fire.

What did I learn?

A great many species of mammal come out of Brazil. As it happens, this paper is the first description of a new order of mammals, the Xenungulata. As recently as 2015, new species were being added to this order.

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About Penny

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

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