Paleontological Study on Pliocene Fossil Carnivora from Udunga Fauna, Transbaikal region, Russia.
Date:2007/07/03 - 2007/07/14
I investigate the Pliocene Transbaikalian Udunga fauna. The work presented here deals with the study of fossil Mustelids (weasels) and Ailurid (lesser panda) which were excavated from Udunga. According to previous works, Mustelid and Ailurids might have been extensively distributed over areas in the Northern Hemisphere during the Pliocene. However, the information of the east Eurasian region is very poor until now. Therefore, it is important to study Udunga fauna for understanding Paleogeographical distribution and migration route of land mammals in Northern Hemisphere. From the 3rd to 14th July, I visited Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland) and Senckenberg Research Institute (Germany). I took dental photographs and measurements of 12 genera 16 species of carnivores (mainly Mustelids and Ailurids). Mieczysław Wolsan (Polish Academy of Sciences), Angelika Helfricht, and Michael Morlo (Senckenberg Research Institute) offered me valuable suggestions for this study. The preliminary result of dental analysis suggests that Transbaikalian large mustelid differs from tribe Ischyrictini (e. g. , wolverine and honey badger) by having lingual cingulum on upper carnassials; developed metaconule on upper first molars; conical talonid margin on lower carnassials. Transbaikalian lesser panda is considered one of the largest species in living and extinct Ailurids. The marginal blades of molars are reduced and the crowns are intricate and low. These characteristics imply that the Transbaikalian lesser panda might have been adapted for herbivore entirely.