A revised listing of fossil mammals from the Haasgat cave system ex situ deposits (HGD), South Africa

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Haasgat is a formerly mined cave system in the western part of the Schurveberg Mountain Range. In 1988 fossiliferous ex situ calcified sediment blocks were collected from Haasgat and mechanically processed. Limited publication on the resulting Haasgat Dumpsite faunal assemblage (HGD) described a large of extinct terminal Pliocene or early Pleistocene primates, including Papio angusticeps and a novel species of extinct Cercopithecoides, but an essentially modern of ungulates. Starting in 2010, renewed geologic and paleontologic research at Haasgat included a critical reevaluation of the published HGD assemblage and the first analysis of nearly 1,500 specimens that were never cataloged or described in the literature. This paper presents a significantly revised Haasgat faunal list, specimen counts, and a basic description of the taxonomically identifiable assemblage with an emphasis on the non-primate mammalian specimens. In contrast to the original faunal descriptions, the occurrence of several modern and fossil artiodactyls in the cannot be supported. The only carnivores originally described from HGD (a Chasmaporthetes nitidula maxilla and Canis mesomelas mandible), along with two primate crania and a handful of other specimens have been lost from the collections; however, analysis of the undocumented specimens yielded previously unidentified primate remains and a cf. Dinofelis sp. fourth metatarsal. In contrast to the original interpretations of Haasgat based on HGD, the revised and expanded assemblage does not necessitate the local occurrence of closed forest or swamp environs, or imply a depositional age between 1.5 and 0.5 million years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 88
Number of pages88
JournalPalaeontologia Electronica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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