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29 March 2024 New material of Lophiparamys debequensis from the Willwood Formation (early Eocene) of Wyoming, including the first postcrania of the genus
Shawn P. Zack, Tonya A. Penkrot
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We describe new material of a small early rodent, Lophiparamys. The material includes the first ankle bones of Lophiparamys and indicates that it spent more time climbing than other early rodents. The new material is also the first record of its species, Lophiparamys debequensis, from north-central Wyoming. It helps to clarify how L. debequensis differs from other species of Lophiparamys. A phylogenetic analysis of the relationships of Lophiparamys does not confidently show what other rodents it was related to, but it may have been related to living dormice.

We report new material of the rare early Eocene rodent Lophiparamys debequensis Wood, 1962 from the Willwood Formation of the southern Bighorn Basin, north-central Wyoming. The new material constitutes the first record of L. debequensis from the Bighorn Basin and documents aspects of the anatomy of Lophiparamys that were previously unknown, including a portion of the maxilla and a portion of the tarsus. The maxillary fragment demonstrates that Lophiparamys has a small P3 and a relatively large infraorbital canal. The tarsus of Lophiparamys is similar to that of other early rodents but differs in a few features that suggest an arboreal locomotor repertoire, including an asymmetric astragalar trochlea, long astragalar neck, transverse astragalar sustentacular facet, short calcaneal tuber, elongate calcaneal ectal facet, and circular calcaneal cuboid facet. The presence of arboreally adapted features in the tarsus of Lophiparamys is consistent with a hypothesized relationship between small-bodied Eocene microparamyine rodents and extant Gliridae. Phylogenetic analysis fails to consistently support this relationship or monophyly of Microparamyinae, but both remain plausible. Comparison of L. debequensis with other species of the genus emphasizes the distinctiveness of L. debequensis and suggests the presence of multiple lineages of Lophiparamys.

Shawn P. Zack and Tonya A. Penkrot "New material of Lophiparamys debequensis from the Willwood Formation (early Eocene) of Wyoming, including the first postcrania of the genus," Journal of Paleontology 97(6), 1293-1308, (29 March 2024).
Accepted: 14 November 2023; Published: 29 March 2024
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