Contribution to Zoology, 74 (3/4) (2005)D.J. van Weers: A taxonomic revision of the Pleistocene Hystrix (Hystricidae, Rodentia) from Eurasia with notes on the evolution of the family

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Abstract

Measurements of many hundreds of the high-crowned cheek teeth of Hystrix specimens from the Euro-Asiatic Pleistocene in the collections of European and Asiatic institutions have been compared with extant species for a revision of the genus. A review is given about the extant genera and species of the family. The number of recognisable Euro-Asiatic species in the fossil record is reduced from eight to five. The European H. (A.) vinogradovi Argyropulo, 1941 is here considered to be a synonym of H. (A.) brachyura Linnaeus, 1758, and the three Asiatic species H. (H.) crassidens Lydekker, 1886, H. (H.) giganteaVan Weers, 1985 and H. (H.) magnaPei, 1987 are synonymized with H. (H.) refossaGervais, 1852. Most of the Chinese fossil specimens are properly allocated to H. (H.) kiangsenensis Wang, 1931 instead of ‘H. subcristata’, and a neotype is indicated for this species. The distribution of the Indonesian Hystrix species is the result of several migration waves into Sundaland, and is not considered to be the result of ‘in situ’ evolution. Comparison of the Miocene material from the Siwaliks in India, described as Sivacanthion complicatusColbert 1933, with extant and Pleistocene Atherurus results in allocation of this species to Atherurus karnuliensisLydekker, 1886.