Article: A new species of Amphirhagatherium (Choeropotamidae, Artiodactyla, Mammalia) from the Late Eocene Headon Hill Formation of southern England and phylogeny of endemic European 'anthracotherioids'
A new species of artiodactyl, Amphirhagatheriumedwardsi sp. nov., is described from the Late Eocene (Priabonian) Headon Hill Formation of the Hampshire Basin, southern England. The Haplobunodontidae, in which Amphirhagatherium is usually placed, has recently been combined with the monotypic Choeropotamidae, both essentially European endemic families. New anatomical information is forthcoming from both the new species and recently published data on related species. A cladistic analysis of taxa included in the two families, the possible anthracotheriid Thaumastognathus and the enigmatic Tapirulus, was conducted to test the relationships implied by observed morphological similarities. The genus Anthracobunodon is shown to be paraphyletic and is here synonymized with Amphirhagatherium. Choeropotamus and Thaumastognathus are sister taxa nested with three species of Haplobunodon and Haplobunodon is paraphyletic and polyphyletic, but this clade is too weakly resolved internally for reliable taxonomic changes. LophiobunodonTapirulus are sister taxa nested with a fourth species of Haplobunodon. The synonymy of the Haplobunodontidae with the Choeropotamidae is upheld and close relationship of the family with the Anthracotheriidae is argued to be unlikely. Choeropotamids are inferred to have had mixed frugivorous and browsing herbivorous diets. They seem to have diversified in the northern parts of Europe, some terminal taxa having originated following southward dispersal.