Kolpochoerus (Mammalia: Suidae) is a suine genus represented by a number of species from Plio-Pleistocene sites in Africa. While the general trends in Kolpochoerus evolution are broadly known, gaps in the fossil record preclude an understanding of the details of its evolutionary tempo and mode. Here, we describe a new species, Kolpochoerus millensis, based on new fossil material from the Woranso-Mille and Gona sites in the Central Afar region of Ethiopia and dated to 3.5-3.8 million years ago (Ma). Third molars of K. millensis are metrically and morphologically intermediate between the early Pliocene K. deheinzelini and earliest late Pliocene K. afarensis. It appears that K. deheinzelini, K. millensis, and K. afarensis are temporally disjunct and phenetically distinguishable parts of a single evolving lineage. The recognition of these chronospecies provides additional evidence for anagenetic evolution. It demonstrates clearly the presence of transitional forms in the fossil record. The extensive and well-dated Kolpochoerus fossil record serves as one of the best documented examples of the occurrence of phyletic evolution. Moreover, K. millensis is one of the best biochronological markers in eastern Africa for the time between 3.5 and 3.8 Ma.
- Phyletic evolution
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics