Preliminary excavations in western Kenya from the middle Miocene Muruyur Beds, in particular from the Kipsaramon site complex (15.5 Ma), are yielding a diverse rodent fauna from a poorly documented period of African prehistory. Seven families (?sciurids, pedetids, anomalurids, thryonomyids, diamantomyids, myophiomyids, and cricetodontids) are represented. Thryonomyoids are dominant; cricetids and murids of modern aspect are currently unknown. The fauna includes a mixture of primitive early Miocene taxa (e.g., Diamantomys and Notocricetodon) and also more derived taxa (i.e., Thryonomyidae genus and species large). A new small anomalurid, Anomalurus parvus, sp. nov., is reported. Faunal composition and the distribution of rodent taxa from the Muruyur Beds show similarities with early and middle Miocene sites in East Africa, Namibia, and Saudi Arabia. Comparison of early and middle Miocene African rodent faunas suggests a period of relative faunal stability among rodent taxa during this time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas