The Value of Fossils from the Margins of Basins – #365papers – 2018 – 53

Muldoon and Gunnell, 2012, Omomyid primates (Tarsiiformes) from the Early Middle Eocene at South Pass, Greater Green River Basin, Wyoming: Journal of Human Evolution, v. 43, p. 479-511

What’s it about?

Much of this paper is a description of a new species of early primate, along with a description of the primate fauna from South Pass, Wyoming, which is on the edge of the Green River Basin. This particular fauna is important because it is on the edge of a geographical basin, so it includes a mixture of animals that prefer flat plains and those that prefer upland areas.

Why does it matter?

This particular locality allows the opportunity to collect fossils of species thought to have preferred different environments. The basin margin provides an environment where two types of habitat co-occur, and can show that these different groups of mammals did, in fact, live at the same time, in the same geographical region.

Why did I read this?

I’ve been doing research on mid-Eocene (slightly older than what these authors describe) rocks from the Uinta Basin (which is just south of the Green River Basin). I read this to familiarize myself with some important Eocene mammal species.

What did I learn?

My main take-away is the importance of marginal localities for getting a complete picture of the fauna of a region.

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