We describe and analyze the postcranial skeleton of Wasatchian rodents based on more than 30 new skeletal associations representing at least four genera and six species, all but one species attributed to Paramyidae. The limb skeleton of Wasatchian paramyids is relatively homogeneous across species and similar to that of extant sciurids. It shows a combination of arboreal and terrestrial features, often manifested in the same element, although in general the forelimb displays more arboreal features, whereas the hind limb is dominated by terrestrial traits. The skeletal anatomy of Wasatchian paramyids suggests that they were similar in locomotor behavior and habitat preference to the most generalized present-day squirrels, being more arboreal than Spermophilus and more terrestrial than Sciurus. They were probably equally adept on the ground and in the trees. In view of their antiquity and relatively basal position among Rodentia, Wasatchian paramyids provide important information on morphotypic conditions of the rodent postcranial skeleton.
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Vol. 2004 • No. 36