Museo de Historia Natural UNMSM

Lima, Peru

Museo de Historia Natural UNMSM

Lima, Peru
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Lambert O.,CNRS Institute of Earth Sciences | Martinez-Caceres M.,CNRS Center for Research on Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments | Bianucci G.,University of Pisa | Di Celma C.,University of Camerino | And 5 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2017

Although combined molecular and morphological analyses point to a late middle Eocene (38-39 million years ago) origin for the clade Neoceti (Odontoceti, echolocating toothed whales plus Mysticeti, baleen whales, and relatives), the oldest known mysticete fossil dates from the latest Eocene (about 34 million years ago) of Antarctica []. Considering that the latter is not the most stemward mysticete in recent phylogenies and that Oligocene toothed mysticetes display a broad morphological disparity most likely corresponding to contrasted ecological niches, the origin of mysticetes from a basilosaurid ancestor and its drivers are currently poorly understood []. Based on an articulated cetacean skeleton from the early late Eocene (Priabonian, around 36.4 million years ago) of the Pisco Basin, Peru, we describe a new archaic tooth-bearing mysticete, Mystacodon selenensis gen. et sp. nov. Being the geologically oldest neocete (crown group cetacean) and the earliest mysticete to branch off described so far, the new taxon is interpreted as morphologically intermediate between basilosaurids and later toothed mysticetes, providing thus crucial information about the anatomy of the skull, forelimb, and innominate at these critical initial stages of mysticete evolution. Major changes in the morphology of the oral apparatus (including tooth wear) and flipper compared to basilosaurids suggest that suction and possibly benthic feeding represented key, early ecological traits accompanying the emergence of modern filter-feeding baleen whales' ancestors. Lambert et al. describe a new toothed cetacean from the late Eocene of Peru. Being the oldest known baleen whale relative (Mysticeti), its skeletal morphology provides crucial information about the archaeocete-neocete transition, suggesting a specialization toward suction and possibly benthic feeding early in the mysticete evolutionary history. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.


Collareta A.,University of Pisa | Lambert O.,CNRS Institute of Earth Sciences | Landini W.,University of Pisa | Di Celma C.,University of Camerino | And 4 more authors.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2017

We report on bite marks incising fossil mammal bones collected from upper Miocene deposits of the Pisco Formation exposed at Aguada de Lomas (southern Peru) and attributed to the giant megatooth shark Carcharocles megalodon. The bitten material includes skull remains referred to small-sized baleen whales as well as fragmentary cetacean and pinniped postcrania. These occurrences, the first in their kind from the Southern Hemisphere, significantly expand the still scarce record of bite marks for C. megalodon; moreover, for the first time a prey (or scavenging item) of C. megalodon is identified at the species level (as Piscobalaena nana, a diminutive member of the extinct mysticete family Cetotheriidae). Due to the fragmentary nature of the studied material, the exact origin of the detected marks (i.e., by scavenging or by active predation) cannot be ascertained. Nevertheless, relying on actualistic observations and size-based considerations, we propose that diminutive mysticetes (e.g., cetotheriids) were some of the target prey of adult C. megalodon, at least along the coast of present-day Peru. C. megalodon is thus here interpreted as an apex predator whose trophic spectrum was focused on relatively small-sized prey. Lastly, we propose a link between the recent collapse of various lineages of diminutive mysticetes (observed around 3 Ma) and the extinction of C. megalodon (occurring around the end of the Pliocene). © 2017 Elsevier B.V.


Lambert O.,CNRS Institute of Earth Sciences | Collareta A.,University of Pisa | Landini W.,University of Pisa | Post K.,Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam | And 4 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2015

Although modern beaked whales (Ziphiidae) are known to be highly specialized toothed whales that predominantly feed at great depths upon benthic and benthopelagic prey, only limited palaeontological data document this major ecological shift.We report on a ziphiid–fish assemblage fromthe Late Miocene of Peru thatwe interpret as the first direct evidence of a predator–prey relationship between a ziphiid and epipelagic fish. Preserved in a dolomite concretion, a skeleton of the stem ziphiid Messapicetus gregarius was discovered together with numerous skeletons of a clupeiform fish closely related to the epipelagic extant Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax). Based on the position of fish individuals along the head and chest regions of the ziphiid, the lack of digestion marks on fish remains and the homogeneous size of individuals, we propose that this assemblage results fromthe death of thewhale (possibly via toxin poisoning) shortly after the capture of prey from a single school. Together with morphological data and the frequent discovery of fossil crown ziphiids in deep-sea deposits, this exceptional record supports the hypothesis that only more derived ziphiids were regular deep divers and that the extinction of epipelagic forms may coincide with the radiation of true dolphins. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


Bussmann R.W.,Missouri Botanical Garden | Paniagua-Zambrana N.,Campus Universitario | Chamorro M.R.,Museo de Historia Natural UNMSM | Moreira N.M.,University Especialidades Espiritu Santo | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine | Year: 2013

Background: Peru is what Peruvian anthropologist Lupe Camino calls the "health axis" of the old Central Andean culture area stretching from Ecuador to Bolivia. In particular in the North of the country the traditional use of medicinal dates back as far as the first millennium B.C. Both healers, and the wider population, often buy their medicinal plants in local markets, but there is very little comparative information available about which plants are sold under which vernacular name at any given time, for which indication, and which dosage information and information about side effects is given by vendors. For this study we used two traditionally used species groups "Hercampuri" Gentianella spec. (Gentianaceae) and "Pasuchaca" Geranium spec. (Geraniaceae.), found in the Mercado Aviación in Lima, as small, clearly circumscribed plant group frequently used to treat symptoms of diabetes as a test case to study the taxonomy, indications, dosage, indicated side effects, and additional species used as admixtures and hypothesized that: 1. A wide variety of different species is sold under the same common name, and often several common names exist for one species. 2. There is no consistency in the dosage, or a relationship between dosage and species marketed under one name. 3. However, there is consistency in the knowledge about usage and side effects. Methods: Surveys focusing on medicinal plants sold and their properties were conducted at the Mercado Aviación in Lima in December 2012. Vouchers of all specimens were deposited at the National Herbarium of Peru. Results and conclusions: Our surveys in Mercado Aviación in Lima yielded four species of Gentianella, two of Geranium, and three additional species from three genera used as common additives that were sold as anti-diabetic. These results indicate that even in case of only a few plant species, used for a very clearly circumscribed application, patients run a considerable risk when purchasing their remedies in the market. The possible side effects in this case are the more serious because diabetes has to be treated long term, and as such the patients are ingesting possible toxic remedies over a long period of time. Much more control, and a much more stringent identification of the material sold in public markets, and entering the global supply chain via internet sales, would be needed.© 2013 Bussmann et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


PubMed | Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam, Copenhagen University, University of Camerino, Museo de Historia Natural UNMSM and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Proceedings. Biological sciences | Year: 2015

Although modern beaked whales (Ziphiidae) are known to be highly specialized toothed whales that predominantly feed at great depths upon benthic and benthopelagic prey, only limited palaeontological data document this major ecological shift. We report on a ziphiid-fish assemblage from the Late Miocene of Peru that we interpret as the first direct evidence of a predator-prey relationship between a ziphiid and epipelagic fish. Preserved in a dolomite concretion, a skeleton of the stem ziphiid Messapicetus gregarius was discovered together with numerous skeletons of a clupeiform fish closely related to the epipelagic extant Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax). Based on the position of fish individuals along the head and chest regions of the ziphiid, the lack of digestion marks on fish remains and the homogeneous size of individuals, we propose that this assemblage results from the death of the whale (possibly via toxin poisoning) shortly after the capture of prey from a single school. Together with morphological data and the frequent discovery of fossil crown ziphiids in deep-sea deposits, this exceptional record supports the hypothesis that only more derived ziphiids were regular deep divers and that the extinction of epipelagic forms may coincide with the radiation of true dolphins.


Valenzuela-Toro A.M.,University of Chile | Gutstein C.S.,University of Chile | Gutstein C.S.,Smithsonian Institution | Varas-Malca R.M.,Museo de Historia Natural UNMSM | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology | Year: 2013

Modern pinnipeds distributed along the coasts of continental South America consist almost entirely of otariids (sea lions and fur seals). In contrast, phocids (true seals) are present only on the southernmost extreme of Chile. This recent biogeographic pattern is consistent with the zooarchaeological record (∼8-2 ka), but it is incompatible with the pinniped fossil record during the Neogene. From the middle Miocene to the Pliocene, true seals exclusively dominated pinniped assemblages, and they were only replaced by the fur seals and sea lions sometime after the early Pliocene. Here, we describe pinniped material collected from two new localities in the Atacama Desert, northern Chile, that clarifies this marine mammal faunal turnover. Specifically, these finds provide records of the first occurrence of Otariidae (late Pleistocene) and the last occurrence of Phocidae (early Pliocene) in Chile, which in turn constrain the timing of this turnover to between the early Pliocene and late Pleistocene. The stratigraphic context of these findings provides new insights into hypotheses that explain this faunal turnover in South America, and we briefly discuss them in the context of turnover events involving other marine vertebrates throughout the Southern Hemisphere. © 2013 by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.


Lambert O.,CNRS Institute of Earth Sciences | Bianucci G.,University of Pisa | Urbina M.,Museo de Historia Natural UNMSM
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology | Year: 2014

The fossil record of odontocetes (toothed cetaceans) is relatively scarce during the Oligocene and early Miocene compared with later in the Miocene and Pliocene; most of the odontocete families from these epochs are known by a limited number of species and specimens. Among those, Squalodelphinidae is a family of small-to medium-sized platanistoids with single-rooted teeth, which until now has included only four genera based on diagnostic material, from the early Miocene of Europe, Argentina, and North America. Recent field work in the Pisco-Ica desert, southern coast of Peru, has resulted in the discovery of several marine vertebrate-rich localities in various levels of the late Oligocene-early Miocene Chilcatay Formation. Based on three specimens from Ullujaya and Zamaca, including two well-preserved skulls with periotics, we describe a new squalodelphinid genus and species, Huaridelphis raimondii. This new species increases the early Miocene diversity of the family and is also its smallest known member. It further differs from other squalodelphinids by its thin antorbital process of the frontal, abruptly tapering rostrum, and higher tooth count. A more fragmentary skull, from Zamaca, is referred to Squalodelphinidae aff. H. raimondii. This skull provides information on the morphology of the tympanic, malleus, and incus, currently unknown in H. raimondii. Focusing on platanistoids with single-rooted teeth, our phylogenetic analysis suggests that Squalodelphinidae are monophyletic and confirms the sister-group relationship between the latter and Platanistidae. The relationships within Squalodelphinidae are not fully resolved, but H. raimondii might be one of the earliest diverging taxa. © 2014 by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.


Bianucci G.,University of Pisa | Urbina M.,Museo de Historia Natural UNMSM | Lambert O.,CNRS Institute of Earth Sciences
Comptes Rendus - Palevol | Year: 2015

An almost complete skull with associated periotics and one cervical vertebra from the Early Miocene strata of the Chilcatay Formation (Pisco Basin, Peru) is described here and referred to Notocetus vanbenedeni, a species previously recorded from Argentina, belonging to the extinct odontocete family Squalodelphinidae (Platanistoidea). The fossil was collected in the same locality and approximately the same stratigraphical horizon as Huaridelphis raimondii, suggesting the sympatric coexistence of two squalodelphinids during the Early Miocene along the Pacific coast of South America. Considering the new record here described, N.vanbenedeni lived both along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America, two marine areas in wide contact during the Late Oligocene and Early Miocene. Despite the relative commonness of squalodelphinids in the Chilcatay Fm., the worldwide record of this family remains globally rather scarce and significant specimens were only found in Italy, France, along the East Coast of USA, Argentina, Peru, and possibly New Zealand. © 2014 Académie des sciences.


Gariboldi K.,University of Pisa | Gioncada A.,University of Pisa | Bosio G.,University of Milan Bicocca | Malinverno E.,University of Milan Bicocca | And 6 more authors.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2015

The Mio-Pliocene Pisco Formation (Peru) is a world-famous marine vertebrate Lagerstätte. Several fossil specimens are wrapped up in dolomitic nodules. Some others lie in the sediment displaying dolomite only in bone cavities (e.g., mesorostral canal and endocranium). With the aim to understand whether the precipitation of the dolomitic nodules influenced the formation of the Lagerstätte, we collected field data on a high number of fossil vertebrates and conducted petrographic and mineralogical analyses on samples representative of the variable development of concretions. Our results revealed positive relationships between size, completeness and articulation of skeletons and the presence of an external nodule. Clear evidence of chemoautotrophic communities that thrived on the carcasses is scarce. Microborings are often found in the cortical bone tissues together with iron oxides; the former are left by microorganisms feeding on the carcass, the latter are traces of former Fe sulphides, a product of organic matter degradation. We suggest that an early burial of the skeletons was a determinant factor in the development of dolomite concretions, since it allowed methanogenesis and anaerobic sulphate reduction exploiting the lipids in the bones and the organic matter dispersed in the sediments. Dolomite precipitation was driven by the same bacteria operating during the suphophilic stage of whale-fall communities. Textural observations imply that dolomite precipitated shortly after the burial of carcasses. The increase of alkalinity generated by sulphate reduction and methanogenesis caused a rapid precipitation of the dolomite within skeletal cavities and prevented the degradation of the bones and diagenetic compression of skeletons; the nodules themselves prevented erosion of fossils after exhumation. Therefore, nodule formation had a crucial role in the development of the Pisco Lagerstätte. © 2015.


Pujos F.,CONICET | Pujos F.,Institute Francais DEtudes Andines IFEA | Salas-Gismondi R.,Museo de Historia Natural UNMSM | Baby G.,Toulouse 1 University Capitole | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Systematic Palaeontology | Year: 2013

Middle Miocene remains of giant megatheriine ground sloths (Tardigrada: Megatherioidea) are scarce and generally located in southern South America. The discovery of a well-preserved edentulous dentary of Megathericulus sp. from the Middle Miocene (Laventan South American Land Mammal Age - SALMA; 13.5-11.8 Ma) of the Amazonian Peru increases our knowledge of this genus, which had previously been recognized in Argentina. A preliminary revision of the earliest Megatheriinae allowed clustering the four middle Miocene species within the genus Megathericulus Ameghino: M. patagonicus Ameghino, M. primaevus Cabrera, M. andinum (Kraglievich), and M. cabrerai (Kraglievich). This small-sized genus is mainly characterized by a lateral depression that borders m1, a posterior external opening of the mandibular canal anterior to the base of the ascending ramus that opens anteriorly or anterodorsally, the base of the symphysis located anteriorly to the m1, important anteroposterior compression of the teeth, elongation of the region of the maxilla anterior to the M1, humerus elongated and gracile, patellar trochlea of femur contiguous with medial and lateral articular facets for tibia, strongly developed odontoid tuberosity, and astragalus with prominent odontoid process. The genus Eomegatherium Kraglievich is therefore restricted to the Huayquerian SALMA of Argentina and represented by a single species, E. nanum Burmeister. Megatheriinae constitute the first clade of Tardigrada in which the caniniform tooth has been secondarily modified into a molariform tooth. Three molariform patterns can be observed during megatheriine evolution in relation to tooth compression and loph or lophid orientation. Middle Miocene Megatheriinae occur only in the westernmost part of South America. These giant ground sloths might have dispersed latitudinally from Colombia/Patagonian Argentina before colonizing eastern areas of Andean South America (Bolivia, Venezuela, north, and east of Argentina) during the late Miocene and early Pliocene. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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