Article: Fossil seals from late Neogene deposits in South America: a new pinniped (Carnivora, Mammalia) assemblage from Chile
Stig Walsh and Darren Naish
A new monachine phocid pinniped assemblage from the north-central coast of Chile is described. The material was recovered from a marine bonebed of the Bahia Inglesa Formation which, based on macro- and microfossil evidence, is probably Late Miocene-Early Pliocene in age. At least two genera, Acrophoca and Piscophoca (both originally described from the Pisco Formation of Peru), are present. The Chilean material is significantly different from that of the two described species from the Pisco Formation and probably represents new species, though these are not named pending description of new material reported from Peru. The postcrania are morphologically intermediate between the northern Phocini and southern Lobodontini. The Bahia Inglesa Formation pinniped assemblage represents the first occurrence of fossil seals in Chile, and provides valuable information regarding the late Neogene radiation of monachines in the Southern Hemisphere. The occurrence of Acrophoca sp. in beds underlying a condensed Mio-Pliocene bonebed suggests that these strata are no older than Late Miocene.