Small-mammal postcrania from the middle paleocene of walbeck, germany

Kenneth D. Rose, Gerhard Storch, Katrin Krohmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fissure fills of Walbeck, northwest of Halle, have produced one of the largest known assemblages of Paleocene vertebrates and the only one of this age from Germany. Nearly 6,000 mammalian specimens have been identified, almost half of which represent small mammals of less than 500 g, the majority probably weighing\100 g. We describe here for the first time[350 postcranial elements collected more than 70 years ago. Multiple morphs of most of the major limb bones are represented, the most numerous elements being humeri, femora, tibiae, calcanei, and astragali. A small number of bones are attributable to plesiadapiform primates and to the probably euarchontan Adapisoriculidae, both likely to have been arboreal. The vast majority of elements, however, represent terrestrial micro-mammals, some showing semifossorial adaptations but most indicating cursorial or saltatorial locomotion. Most of these bones probably belong to the most common small mammals from Walbeck (based on teeth): Adapisorex, Walbeckodon, and Prolouisina, which have recently been interpreted as stem macroscelideans. The morphology of these bones supports that interpretation. The predominance of terrestrial mammals and the low species diversity of the Walbeck local fauna suggest that it sampled a relatively open and unstable environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-124
Number of pages30
JournalPalaontologische Zeitschrift
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2015


  • Fossorial
  • Macroscelidea
  • Primates
  • Saltatorial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Palaeontology


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