“E” is for Elphidotarsius

“E” is for Elphidotarsius

Elphidotarsius is a member of the Family Carpolestidae, which means…

 

…which is great, if you’re a carpolestid.

The Carpolestidae are part of the larger group Plesiadapiformes. The Plesiadapiformes are considered a sister group to modern ‘true’ primates. Others argue that the Plesiadapiformes are true primates. Most just say ‘archaic’ primates and dodge the whole argument. For our purposes, it doesn’t matter.

Carpolestids are interesting in that some possess a blade-like lower fourth premolar, similar to multituberculates. However, these mammals are clearly not multituberculates, based upon other features of the skull, teeth, and skeleton.

Lower jaw of Carpolestes simpsoni

As a genus, Elphidotarsius is not very helpful for biostratigraphy in The Breaks, because it is known from the latest Torrejonian into the earliest Tiffanian.

Only one specimen is known from The Breaks. It comes from the overlap zone (very earliest Tiffanian).

Sketches of the specimen of Elphidotarsius from The Breaks.
Sketches of the only specimen of Elphidotarsius from The Breaks.
Elphidotarsius 1
Elphidotarsius sp. Rm1 Labial view. UW 31259 from locality V-90082 in The Breaks.
Elphidotarsius 2
Elphidotarsius sp. Rm1 Lingual view. UW 31259 from locality V-90082 in The Breaks.
Elphidotarsius 3
Elphidotarsius sp. Rm1, occlusal view. UW 31259 from locality V-90082 in The Breaks.

This particular specimen I liked because it was completely dwarfed by the head of the pin to which it was glued. I also thought it looked a lot like a mitten.

Part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge.

For 4-5-13

Published by paleololigo

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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