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The first records of Sinclairella (Apatemyidae) from the Pacific Northwest, USA


Apatemyidae are a rare and enigmatic group of small insectivorous mammals that lived in North America and Europe in the Paleogene. The last known apatemyids in North America are two species in the genus Sinclairella, known from sites in the Great Plains and Florida. Here, I formally describe an upper second molar and lower incisor of the apatemyid, Sinclairella dakotensis, from the incredibly well-studied Turtle Cove Member of the John Day Formation in Oregon. These early Arikareean age specimens represent the first records of the family west of the Rocky Mountains. Sinclairella dakotensis filled a ‘woodpecking’ niche unlike any other mammal known from the region, and its co-occurrence with a number of forest-adapted mammal species is consistent with previous interpretations of environments at the time having been dominated by woodlands.

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