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GENUS Tatera

Author:Lataste, 1882.
Citation:Le Naturaliste, Paris, 2: 126.
Type Species:Dipus indicus Hardwicke, 1807.
Comments:Tribe Taterillini, Subtribe Taterillina. According to Pavlinov et al. (1990) and Pavlinov (2001), Taterillini also includes the African Taterillus and Gerbilliscus (once included in Tatera; see generic account of the latter). Tong (1989) also included Gerbillurus in this group and did not separate Gerbilliscus from Tatera. Evolutionary history of Tatera dates from T. pinjoricus, which is represented by isolated molars from late Pliocene Siwalik beds of NW India (Patnaik, 1997), which appears to be a primitive phylogenetic ally of living T. indica (Flynn et al., 2003). Patnaik (1997) considered Tatera pinjoricus to be dentally similar to the late Miocene Abudhabia sp. from Pakistan, A. baynunensis from the United Arab Emirates (de Bruijn and Whybrow, 1994) and the early to late Pliocene A. kabulense from NW India and N Afghanistan (see review by Wessels, 1998). In addition to those species, A. pakistanensis has been described from the Siwalik late Miocene of Pakistan (Flynn and Jacobs, 1999), A. radinsky from the Pliocene of NE Afghanistan (Flynn et al., 2003), and the first non-Asian record (Abudhabia sp.) was documented by Winkler (2001) from the late Miocene of N Kenya. Rather than considering Abudhabia to be directly related to Tatera, Flynn et al. (2003:279) suggested ". . . that Abudhabia is a taterilline related to Taterillus, Gerbilliscus, and Taterona in Africa, plus Tatera in Asia. . . ," a hypothesis testable ". . . through a survey of osteological features across the group, a basis for phylogenetic analysis enriched by the fossil record." Abudhabia is significant not only to understanding evolutionary origin of taterillines but Gerbillinae in general "because its dental characteristics are intermediate between the Myocricetodontinae and the Gerbillinae" (de Bruijn and Whybrow, 1994:414). Detailed comparisons between the Afghanistan Pliocene Abudhabia radinskyi and modern Tatera indica provided by Flynn et al. (2003).


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