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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2016 / New earliest Eocene mammal fauna from Clairoix, France: first definitive Dormaal (reference level MP7) equivalent outside of Belgium

Thierry Smith, Florence Quesnel, Vanessa Baron, Gaël De Ploëg, Eric De Bast, Annelise Folie, Richard Smith and Floréal Solé (2016)

New earliest Eocene mammal fauna from Clairoix, France: first definitive Dormaal (reference level MP7) equivalent outside of Belgium

In: Society of Vertebrate Paleontology October 2016, ed. by Andy Farke; Amber MacKenzie; Jess Miller-Camp, vol. Astracts of papers 76th Annual Meeting, pp. 228, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The rich earliest Eocene mammal assemblage of Dormaal in northeast Belgium has yielded most of the earliest modern mammals of Europe and is the the reference-level for MP7 in the Mammalian Biochronological Scale of the European Paleogene. Despite the fact that several other localities in Europe, such as Silveirinha in Portugal, Le Quesnoy, Pourcy, Sotteville-sur-Mer, Rians, Palette, and Fordones in France, and the Suffolk Pebble Beds in England, contain faunas that have been correlated to Dormaal, none of them preserve the same fauna as Dormaal with the exception of Erquelinnes in southwest Belgium. Here we describe the new vertebrate site of Clairoix, located only 13 km from Le Quesnoy in the Paris Basin, France, but 225 km southwest of Dormaal. About 150 kilograms of sandy matrix has produced a collection of about 400 vertebrate specimens including 118 isolated mammal teeth. The fauna is composed of the following typical MP7 species: the herpetotheriid marsupial Peratherium constans, the amphilemurid erinaceomorph Macrocranion vandebroeki, the hyaenodonts Arfia gingerichi and Prototomus minimus, the carnivoraforms Dormaalocyon latouri and Gracilocyon solei, and the omomyid primate Teilhardina belgica. Besides these index taxa, the arctocyonid Landenodon woutersi, the louisinid “condylarths” Paschatherium dolloi and Paschatherium yvetteae, a perissodactyl, and several rodents also are present at Clairoix. As in Dormaal, the relative abundance analysis of the species from Clairoix indicates that P. dolloi and P. yvetteae are the most abundant species, followed by M. vandebroeki and T. belgica, respectively. In term of number of specimens, Paschatherium represents more than 50% of the fauna, which corresponds to the acme of Paschatherium defined across the Paleocene–Eocene boundary in continental Europe. The composition and relative abundance of the mammal fauna of Clairoix are very similar to those of Dormaal and Erquelinnes and suggest a similar or very close age. The results of this work also suggest that the mammal assemblage of these three localities does not only correspond to a different paleoenvironment than that of other MP7 correlated faunas but also to an older age closer to the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Fish, frog, lizard, crocodilomorph, and snake remains were also collected and support a fluvial paleoenvironment at Clairoix. Grant Information This research was supported by the BRGM ‘Régolithe’ Scientific Program and the Belgian Science Policy Office (project BR/121/A3/PalEurAfrica).
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Paleontology

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