We describe a new species of gundi (Rodentia: Ctenodactylidae: Ctenodactylinae), Sayimys negevensis, on the basis of cheek teeth from the Early Miocene of the Rotem Basin, southern Israel. The Rotem ctenodactylid differs from all known ctenodactylid species, including Sayimys intermedius, which was first described from the Middle Miocene of Saudi Arabia. Instead, it most resembles Sayimys baskini from the Early Miocene of Pakistan in characters of the m1-2 (e.g., the mesoflexid shorter than the metaflexid, the obliquely orientated hypolophid, and the presence of a strong posterolabial ledge) and the upper molars (e.g., the paraflexus that is longer than the metaflexus). However, morphological (e.g., presence of a well-developed paraflexus on unworn upper molars) and dimensional (regarding, in particular, the DP4 and M1 or M2) differences between the Rotem gundi and Sayimys baskini distinguish them and testify to the novelty and endemicity of the former. In its dental morphology, Sayimys negevensis sp. nov. shows a combination of both the ultimate apparition of key-characters and incipient features that would be maintained and strengthened in latter ctenodactylines. Thus, it is a pivotal species that bridges the gap between an array of primitive ctenodactylines and the most derived, Early Miocene and later, gundis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)