Eocene caviomorph rodents from Balsayacu (Peruvian Amazonia)

Myriam Boivin, Laurent Marivaux, Walter Aguirre-Diaz, Michele Andriolli Custódio, Aldo Benites-Palomino, François Pujos, Martin Roddaz, Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, Narla Stutz, Julia V. Tejada-Lara, Johan Yans, Pierre Olivier Antoine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Paleogene record of caviomorph rodents has substantially increased over the last decades, and their evolutionary history better understood by the discovery of their earliest representatives, so far recorded in several pre-Deseadan localities in Peruvian Amazonia. We report here the discovery of new caviomorph fossils from the Balsayacu area in Peru (TAR-55/TAR-55bis, TAR-76 and TAR-77 localities, San Martín Department). The study of this new material reveals the occurrence of four caviomorph taxa in these localities: Balsayacuy huallagaensis gen. et sp. nov., Chachapoyamys kathetos gen. et sp. nov. and Caviomorpha gen. et sp. indet. 1 and 2. It allows the revision and refinement of taxonomic assignments of previously described specimens. The first three taxa have a primitive dental pattern, as that characterizing stem Caviomorpha recorded in pre-Deseadan localities of Peru (Eocene localities of Contamana and ?late Eocene/early Oligocene Santa Rosa). We support here an Eocene age for the Balsayacu section due to the complete absence of morphologically derived taxa representing modern caviomorph superfamilies. By the presence of derived characters in Balsayacuy and Chachapoyamys compared to Canaanimys maquiensis and Cachiyacuy contamanensis from CTA-27 (Contamana, Peru; late middle Eocene), the Balsayacu section may document a time interval slightly younger than CTA-27 (which further yields Chachapoyamys cf. kathetos) and older than those of Santa Rosa and Tarapoto-Shapaja, likely documenting latest middle or early late Eocene times. These low-latitude stem caviomorph faunas provide new insights into the early evolutionary history and paleodiversity of that group immediately before the rise of modern superfamilies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-160
Number of pages26
Journal Palaeontologische Zeitschrift: scientific contributions to palaeontology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2021


  • Biostratigraphy
  • Peru
  • Rodentia
  • South America
  • Systematics


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