Article: A new family of plesiadapiformes (Mammalia) from the Old World lower Paleogene
A new genus of plesiadapiform mammal, Toliapina, with two new species, Toliapina vinealis and T. lawsoni, is described from the middle Ypresian (lower Eocene) Sables a` Unios et Te´re´dines of Avenay (Marne), France, and the London Clay Formation, division C/D, of Sheppey, Kent, England. Toliapina is considered to be most closely related to Avenius, also from Avenay, and Berruvius from the Thanetian (upper Paleocene) of Cernay and Berru (Marne). The new genus Sarnacius is erected for the species ‘Berruvius’gingerichi, the most primitive member of this related group. Altiatlasius, from the upper Paleocene of Morocco, originally described as the oldest primate and as a member of the family Omomyidae, is shown to be closely related to this group of genera. Some similarities are noted between Toliapina and the enigmatic genus Seia from the lower/middle Eocene of Pakistan. Cladistic analysis demonstrates that Toliapina, Avenius, Altiatlasius, Berruvius and Sarnacius form a monophyletic group for which the new plesiadapiform family Toliapinidae is created. This family is shown to be most closely related to the endemic North American family Microsyopidae. The presence of the toliapinid Altiatlasius in the African late Paleocene is judged to have resulted from dispersal from Europe and thus to have no bearing on primate centres of origin. A functional analysis of toliapinid teeth suggests that Toliapina and Avenius had modified their diet to include plant exudates and possibly soft fruits and seeds as well as insects.