Hispanomeryx andrewsi is the new extinct species of musk deer of the Middle Miocene, described from fossils of the historical collections of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), collected in excavations in China, Tunggur Formation, in the 1930's. The study, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology in November 2011, is signed by different researchers at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid and Daniel DeMiguel, researcher at the ICP.
The moschids, or musk deers, are a family of unarmed ruminants (no cranial appendages) now reduced to the genus Moschus – from which seven species known- with presence in various Asian countries. However, the oldest fossils of the family, Hispanomeryx and Micromeryx, were only known in the European Miocene. For Hispanomeryx, three specieshave been described so far, all from fossil deposits recovered in the Iberian Peninsula.
Rediscovering the classic collections
As researcher Daniel DeMiguel says AMNH collections never cease to amaze, both for its outstanding exhibitions, open to the general public, and for the collections with an exclusive access to researchers. Team members found a few remains of an unpublished moschid abandoned in a drawer. Their dental morphology was very different from those that had been established so far for different species Hispanomeryx. This made us "dusting" the remains to be studied in detail. The finding has been so important that shows that gender was also present in Asia, and had a great evolutionary success perhaps because of this unexpected plasticity in the dentition. I have no doubt that many surprises are waiting to be "discovered" in the (almost forgotten) classical collections of museums like the AMNH. "
+ info Sánchez, I. M., DeMiguel, D., Quiralte, V. & Morales,J. (2011). The first known Asian Hispanomeryx (Mammalia, Ruminantia, Moschidae). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(6): 1397-1403.