A tooth of a mongoose (Mammalia: Carnivora: Herpestidae) was discovered from the Upper Irrawaddy sediments in central Myanmar. The age of the fauna is not older than the mid-Pliocene. It is identified as a right first upper molar of a small species of Urva (formally included in the genus Herpestes) based on its size and shape. The present specimen is the first carnivoran from the Upper Irrawaddy sediments and is the first record of mongooses in the Pliocene and early Pleistocene of Asia. It confirms that mongooses had already dispersed into Southeast Asia by the late Pliocene, being consistent with the previous molecular phylogenetic analyses. The fossil may belong to one of the extant species, but an assignment to a specific species is difficult due to the fragmentary nature of the specimen and the small interspecific differences in dental shape among the Asian mongooses. The size of the tooth suggests that the Irrawaddy specimen is within or close to the clade of Urva auropunctata+. javanica+. edwardsii, and this taxonomic assignment agrees with the geographical distribution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth-Surface Processes