Article: A highly derived anomalurid rodent (Mammalia) from the earliest late Eocene of Egypt
A new genus and species of diminutive anomalurid rodent, Shazurus minutus, is described on the basis of 15 isolated teeth from the earliest late Eocene (approximately 37 Ma) Birket Qarun Locality 2 in the Fayum Depression of northern Egypt. Shazurus is surprisingly specialized for its age, being most similar in dental morphology to early Miocene Paranomalurus and extant Anomalurus, and is quite different from the roughly contemporaneous anomaluroid genera Nementchamys and Pondaungimys from Algeria and Myanmar, respectively. Parsimony analysis of dental features places Shazurus within crown Anomaluridae as a sister group of two species of Paranomalurus to the exclusion of extant Anomalurus and Idiurus. The marked morphological differences between the two oldest Afro-Arabian anomaluroids (Shazurus and Nementchamys) suggest that the taxa share a much more ancient common Afro-Arabian ancestor, possibly derived from Zegdoumyidae. Isolated teeth of Shazurus and other Eocene anomaluroids reveal little about their palaeobiology, but the complete absence of Anomaluroidea from the younger (late Eocene to early Oligocene) Jebel Qatrani Formation is presumably a reflection of environmental change through the late Eocene in northern Africa.