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The Pliocene marine megafaunal extinctions caused functional diversity loss, which was not mitigated by newly evolved taxa in the Pleistocene. This paper points towards an abrupt loss of productive coastal habitats as a key extinction driver.
Classification of the extinct South American native ungulates (SANUs) has posed a challenge given the absence of close, surviving relatives. Here, Westbury et al. sequence the mitochondrial genome of the extinct SANU Macrauchenia patachonica and reconstruct the evolutionary history of the lineage.
Detailed micro-computed tomography analysis of the skull of Lethiscus stocki places it much earlier in the tetrapod lineage that was previously thought, showing that early tetrapods were more morphologically diverse than has been believed.
The timing of mountain building along the Tibetan Plateau remains unclear. Here, the authors present new magnetostratigraphic and mammalian biostratigraphic data from sediments to show that mountain building at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau commenced at 25.5 Ma with a separate emergence in the north at 12 Ma.