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The first Mid-Blancan occurrence of Agriotherium (Ursidae) In North America: A record from Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Idaho

  • Joshua X. Samuels (a1), Julie A. Meachen-Samuels (a1) and Philip A. Gensler (a2)
Abstract

Members of the subfamily Ursinae dispersed into North America from Africa and Asia during the Miocene, with the appearance of Ursavus (Schlosser, 1899), Indarctos (Pilgrim, 1913), and Agriotherium (Wagner, 1837) (Dalquest, 1986; Miller and Carranza-Castañeda, 1996; Hunt, 1998). However, none of these genera were thought to have survived past the Hemphillian Land Mammal Age in North America. It is thought that these genera were replaced, and possibly out-competed, by members of the extant genus Ursus (Linnaeus, 1758), or Plionarctos (Frick, 1926), as suggested by several sources (Bjork, 1970; Dalquest, 1986; Bell et al., 2004). It has also been suggested that the Ursavini (Agriotherium and Indarctos) may have given rise to the extant ursids and the Tremarctinae (Harrison, 1983; Miller and Carranza-Castañeda, 1996). Of the Ursavini, Agriotherium is consistently found in the Hemphillian Land Mammal Age, and so is used as an index fossil in that its absence is assumed to indicate that a site is Blancan rather than Hemphillian (Lundelius et al., 1987; Bell et al., 2004; Hunt, 2004).

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