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Bershaw J.,University of Rochester | Garzione C.N.,University of Rochester | Higgins P.,University of Rochester | MacFadden B.J.,University of Florida | And 3 more authors.
Earth and Planetary Science Letters

Paleoelevation constraints from fossil leaf physiognomy and stable isotopes of sedimentary carbonate suggest that significant surface uplift of the northern Andean plateau, on the order of 2.5 ± 1 km, occurred between ∼ 10.3 and 6.4 Ma. Independent spatial and temporal constraints on paleoelevation and paleoclimate of both the northern and southern plateau are important for understanding the distribution of rapid surface uplift and its relation to climate evolution across the plateau. This study focuses on teeth from modern and extinct mammal taxa (including notoungulates, pyrotheres, and litopterns) spanning ∼ 29 Ma to present, collected from the Altiplano and Eastern Cordillera of Bolivia (16.2°S to 21.4°S), and lowland Brazil. Tooth enamel of large, water-dependent mammals preserves a record of surface water isotopes and the type of plants that animals ingested while their teeth were mineralizing. Previous studies have shown that the δ18O of modern precipitation and surface waters decrease systematically with increasing elevations across the central Andes. Our results from high elevation sites between 3600 and 4100 m show substantially more positive δ18O values for late Oligocene tooth samples compared to < 10 Ma tooth δ18O values. Late Oligocene teeth collected from low elevation sites in southeast Brazil show δ18O values similar (within 2‰) to contemporaneous teeth collected at high elevation in the Eastern Cordillera. This affirms that the Andean plateau was at a very low elevation during the late Oligocene. Late Oligocene teeth from the northern Eastern Cordillera also yield consistent δ13C values of about - 9‰, indicating that the environment was semi-arid at that time. Latitudinal gradients in δ18O values of late Miocene to Pliocene fossil teeth are similar to modern values for large mammals, suggesting that by ∼ 8 Ma in the northern Altiplano and by ∼ 3.6 Ma in the southern Altiplano, both regions had reached high elevation and established a latitudinal rainfall gradient similar to modern. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. Source

We describe a new taxon of mylodontid sloth from the late Oligocene (Deseadan South American Land Mammal "age"), Salla Beds of Bolivia. This taxon, Paroctodontotherium calleorum, new genus and species, is one of the oldest known sloths, but it is surprisingly derived. It is referable to the Mylodontidae and, with just a little doubt, to the Mylodontinae. It shares a number of derived characteristics with other mylodontids and even mylodontines. These include: a relatively low temporomandibular joint; a relatively short zygomatic process of the squamosal; an elongated, narrow braincase; anteriorly diverging toothrows; broad muzzle; and greatly enlarged external nares. The relative width of the muzzle of Paroctodontotherium is as great as any Pleistocene mylodontid except the giant grazer, Lestodon. We review and critique methods of estimating diets of extinct sloths and propose a hypothesis in regard to the feeding ecology of Paroctodontotherium. Based upon its broad muzzle, the degree of tooth wear, and its presence in a habitat dominated by hypsodont herbivores, we propose that Paroctodontotherium was a bulk feeder that foraged near ground level. Grasses were likely a major component of its diet. The addition of this new taxon, along with other recently discovered taxa, illustrates that late Oligocene sloths had much greater diversity than recognized just a decade ago. This diversity is evident in species richness, variations in body sizes, dental morphologies, and means of locomotion. We regard this relatively sudden sloth radiation as a significant component of the Eocene-Oligocene faunal turnover and was related to the development of more open habitats of post-Eocene South America. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Source

MacFadden B.J.,University of Florida | Zeitler P.K.,Lehigh University | Anaya F.,Autonomous University Tomas Frias | Cottle J.M.,University of California at Santa Barbara
Quaternary Research (United States)

The highly fossiliferous sediments of the Tolomosa Formation from Tarija, southern Bolivia, represent one of the most important localities in South America that documents the Great American Biotic Interchange. Over the past several decades, chronostratigraphic studies have indicated a middle Pleistocene age for the Tolomosa Formation from ~1.1 to 0.7Ma. This interval correlates to the Ensenadan South American Land Mammal Age as it is characterized from classic localities in Argentina. Recently, however, a new interpretation based on AMS 14C ages indicates that the fossiliferous sediments from Tarija are latest Pleistocene, i.e., <44ka, and thus of Lujanian age. Here we report a new age of 0.76±0.03Ma (2σ) based on 11 U-Th/Pb and U-Th/He individual determinations from the Tolomosa Formation. This is indistinguishable from the age published from the same ash in 1983, and was originally used to calibrate the magnetostratigraphic section at Tarija. The new age confirms that the age of the Tolomosa Formation is middle Pleistocene, and not latest Pleistocene. The age of the Tarija Fauna has significant implications with regard to the stage of evolution biochronology for Pleistocene fossil mammals in South America, and in particular, the classic and important reference sections in Argentina. © 2013 University of Washington. Source

Croft D.A.,Case Western Reserve University | Chick J.M.H.,Case Western Reserve University | Anaya F.,Autonomous University Tomas Frias
Journal of Mammalian Evolution

The rodents of the middle Miocene fauna of Quebrada Honda Bolivia are described. The most abundant rodent is the chinchillid Prolagostomus sp. More precise identification of this species will require revision of early to middle Miocene lagostomines, taking into account variation in modern populations. The next most common rodents are the tiny octodontoid Acarechimys, sp. nov.?, and the caviid Guiomys unica. The Acarechimys species may be unique to Quebrada Honda, but verification awaits revision of this geographically and temporally widespread genus. Guiomys unica is a recently described species otherwise known only from two Patagonian localities, El Petiso and Río Chico. Two rodents are unique to Quebrada Honda. Mesoprocta hypsodus, gen. et sp. nov., is a dasyproctid distinguished by its very hypsodont, cement-covered cheek teeth. Quebradahondomys potosiensis, gen. et sp. nov., is an adelphomyine echimyid distinguished by the less oblique lophids of its trilophodont cheek teeth, among other features. The rodents of Quebrada Honda are more similar to those of Patagonia than those of northern South America, paralleling patterns seen in other mammal groups from this fauna. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Source

Strosnider W.H.J.,University of Saint Francis | Llanos Lopez F.S.,Autonomous University Tomas Frias | LaBar J.A.,Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds | Palmer K.J.,University of Saint Francis | Nairn R.W.,University of Oklahoma
Environmental Earth Sciences

Intensive mining and processing of the polymetallic sulfide ore body of Cerro Rico de Potosí (Bolivia) has occurred since 1545, leading to severe degradation of surface and subsurface waters, stream sediments, and soils at the headwaters of the economically vital, yet highly impacted, Rio Pilcomayo. Previous studies have documented extremely elevated concentrations of a limited suite of metals in local waterways from acid mine drainage (AMD), terrestrial and in-stream tailings, and ore processing plant discharges. However, contamination from a wider variety of ecotoxic metals/metalloids was considered likely due to the highly mineralized polymetallic nature of the ore body. To screen for this broader range of ecotoxic elements in AMD and receiving streams, data were gathered during two sampling events timed for the most extreme periods of the dry and wet seasons of one water-year. Concentrations of Ag, B, Ba, Mo, Sb, Se, Sn and V in AMD and receiving streams were greater than Bolivian discharge limits and receiving water body guidelines as well as international agricultural use standards. Locally, results indicate that contamination from mining Cerro Rico has a larger scope than previously thought and underscore the importance of remediation. Globally, the results raise the possibility that other mining regions could have unquantified hazards from overlooked ecotoxic elements and that screening for a broader range of contaminants may be warranted. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

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