New Hispanomeryx (Mammalia, Ruminantia, Moschidae) from Spain and a reassessment of the systematics and paleobiology of the genus Hispanomeryx Morales, Moyà-Solà and Soria, 1981
Here we describe new remains of the Miocene moschid Hispanomeryx from the Vallès-Penedès Basin in Spain (NE Iberian Peninsula). These fossils come from the early Vallesian sites of Castell de Barberà (CB) and Ecoparc de Can Mata (ECM) and represent the first Iberian record of Hispanomeryx out of the inner Miocene basins. The fossils from ECM constitute a new species that we name Hispanomeryx lacetanus sp. nov., the first Hispanomeryx described with a Palaeomeryx-fold. The fossils from CB are the first unambiguous record of Hispanomeryx aragonensis outside its type locality (La Ciesma-1B, Ebro Basin, Spain), and allow us to describe for the first time the upper molars of this species. Our phylogenetic analysis recovers a new tree topology for Hispanomeryx that shows a basal offshoot, the Chinese Hispanomeryx andrewsi, as the sister-group to a derived clade containing two European lineages. One of them clusters Hispanomeryx daamsi as the sister group of Hispanomeryx duriensis and Hispanomeryx lacetanus sp. nov., and the other one contains the two forms of H. aragonensis (type series from La Ciesma-1B plus the material from CB). Emended diagnoses for both the genus Hispanomeryx and all previously described species are offered. From an ecological viewpoint, the new Hispanomeryx material from the Vallès-Penedès Basin constitute the first unambiguous forest-dwelling Hispanomeryx ever recorded in Iberia, demonstrating that the previous lack of Hispanomeryx fossils in the Vallès-Penedès was due to sampling issues, and not to paleobiological or paleoecological reasons. Finally, it is therefore apparent that Hispanomeryx was as environmentally/ecologically plastic as its relative Micromeryx, and equally capable of thriving in biomes that varied from dry and open to humid and forested.