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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Puercolestes and Betonnia (Cimolestidae, Mammalia) from the early Paleocene (Puercan 3 Interval Zone) of northeastern Montana, U.S.A.

In northeastern Montana, fossil localities in the Garbani Channel Complex and other early Paleocene (Puercan 3 Interval Zone) localities are preserved in the Tullock Member of the Fort Union Formation. They document an early phase in the recovery of the terrestrial fauna of the North American Western Interior after the mass extinction marking the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. The cimolestids Puercolestes simpsoni and Betonnia tsosia were typified on fragmentary jaws and isolated teeth found in Puercan 2 and 3 Interval Zones (Pu2, Pu3) in the Nacimiento Formation, San Juan Basin, New Mexico. The available samples of these genera from both New Mexico and Montana are small and dominantly consist of isolated teeth. Characters of upper cheek teeth, P4 and M1–M3, justify provisional recognition of Puercolestes sp. cf. Pu. simpsoni and the somewhat smaller Betonnia sp. cf. Be. tsosia in Pu3 local faunas in the Tullock Member. In contrast, discovery of characters distinguishing the isolated lower cheek teeth, p4s and m1–m3s, of these species must await recovery of dentulous dentaries documenting the patterns of morphological variation of their lower dentitions. Fossils from the Tullock Member add support to the current interpretation that cimolestids were taxonomically diverse and geographically widespread but relatively rare members of the faunas of the North American Western Interior during approximately the first million years of the Paleocene.

Revision of Eocene warm-water cassid gastropods from coastal southwestern North America: implications for paleobiogeographic distribution and faunal-turnover

The warm-water (thermophilic) Eocene cassid gastropods reported previously from coastal southwestern North America (CSWNA), a region extending from the Olympic Peninsula, Washington to Baja California Sur, Mexico, are revised in terms of taxonomy, description, geographic distribution, and biostratigraphy. Five species of the cassine Galeodea and a single species of the phaliine Echinophoria are recognized. Galeodea meganosensis, G. sutterensis, G. louella, G. californica and G. tuberculiformis are predominantly found in California and, collectively, range in age from early to middle Eocene. Echinophoria trituberculata of middle Eocene age in southern California and of earliest late Eocene age in southwestern Washington, is the earliest known record of this genus. Several poorly known supposed cassids are discussed. The pre-Oligocene global record of Galeodea is compiled for the first time. The first arrival of Galeodea in the CSWNA region occurred in the early Eocene just after the warmest peak and highest sea level of the Cenozoic. Some of the CSWNA Galeodea species are very similar morphologically to some found in the Tethys Realm of Western Europe, especially in England and France, and to some found in the Gulf Coast and Mexico (Nuevo León and Chiapas). These similar species are indicative that the migratory route of Galeodea into the CSWNA region was via a current system that emanated from the Old World, passed near southern Western Europe, the Gulf Coast of the United States, northern and southern Mexico, and eventually influenced the CSWNA region. Thermophilic CSWNA cassids radiated during the early Eocene but declined by the end of the middle Eocene, and, because of global cooling, disappeared near the beginning of the Oligocene.