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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021 / Ibeceten, a window into the anuran diversity of the African Cretaceous

Alfred Lemierre, Salvador Bailon, Annelise Folie, and Michel Laurin (2021)

Ibeceten, a window into the anuran diversity of the African Cretaceous

In: Multidisciplinary Workshop - Scientific Missions and their Advancement for Overseas Sciences: Past, Present and Future - Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences - Brussels, 20 December 2021, vol. Programme, pp. 13, Académie des Sciences d'Outre-Mer.

The Cretaceous is a key period for anurans, as several clades, such as the aquatic Pipidae and the speciose Neobatrachia (~96 % of extant taxa) underwent a rapid and vast diversification. This event is considered to have taken place on Gondwana, as it was breaking apart into several continents, including South America and Africa. Fossiliferous sites from this period from both continents are key to understand how this diversification unravelled. Unfortunately, few cretaceous sites with anuran remains are known from Africa. Among them is the Ibeceten site from the Coniacian-Santonian of Niger. Located in the South-East of Niger, this site has been the subject of several field campaigns during the 1970s by the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris. The peculiar pipid Pachycentrata taqueti was described in 1998. However, most of the material remained undescribed. Here we present a thorough study of the anuran material from Ibeceten, which leads to the recognition of a new taxon. New anatomical studies suggest the presence of at least six taxa, although numerous bone fragments remain unattributable. This makes Ibeceten the most diverse anuran fauna of the African fossil record. Half of the identified taxa belong to Pipimorpha (total-group of Pipidae), while another one is an ornamented anuran that resembles the cretaceous neobatrachians from South America. Among the pipids, one new taxon should be erected. Phylogenetic analysis of pipimorphs places two Ibeceten taxa among the pipids. The presence of more than one pipid shows that the clade was already diversified during the early Late Cretaceous, and that the clade might have emerged in Africa, before spreading to South America. In addition, the putative presence of a neobatrachian shows that the clade was already widespread in South America and West Africa.
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