Brief communication: The oldest pliopithecid record in the Iberian Peninsula based on new material from the Vallès-Penedès Basin

David M. Alba, Salvador Moyà-Solà, Josep M. Robles, Jordi Galindo

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Here, we report on an isolated pliopithecid M3/ (IPS35028) from locality ACM/C3-B2 (12.0 Ma, MN7) of the late Middle Miocene stratigraphic series of Abocador de Can Mata (ACM, Vallès-Penedès Basin, NE Iberian Peninsula). This tooth is about 0.2 million years older than the remains of Pliopithecus canmatensis (11.8-11.7 ma), recorded from several localities from the ACM series. The unusual occlusal features of IPS35028, together with the lack of homologous material for several pliopithecid species, preclude a precise taxonomic attribution of the C3-B2 specimen, which does not fit the morphology of any known pliopithecid M3/. In particular, although an attribution to P. canmatensis would seem reasonable on the basis of size, identical geographic provenance, and similar age, the morphology of IPS35028 appears too primitive compared to the M1/ and M2/ of the former taxon. Instead, the C3-B2 pliopithecid displays several primitive features shared with the dionysopithecine Dionysopithecus and the pliopithecine Pliopithecus piveteaui. It therefore seems more likely that IPS35028 represents a previously unknown pliopithecid taxon, although a formal taxonomic recognition of its probable distinct status is not advisable, given the scarcity of the currently available material. Alternatively, this taxon might be more closely related to small-bodied African catarrhines (such as dendropithecids). However, the morphology of the ACM specimen is not particularly similar to that of the M3/ of these African taxa. Hence, based on age and geographic provenance, an attribution of IPS35028 to the Pliopithecidae is favored here. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-140
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Catalonia
  • Pliopithecidae
  • Pliopithecoidea
  • Primates
  • Spain


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