Fossil Friday 4/22/16: A New World Monkey

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UF 280128, the left upper first molar (M1) and holotype of Panamacebus transitus. Photo courtesy of Aldo Rincon, VP FLMNH and PCP PIRE.

This week’s Fossil Friday (and Earth Day) feature highlights an important new discovery that was just published in the journal Nature this week. Seven fossil teeth of a platyrrhine, or New World Monkey, named Panamacebus transitus were found at the Lirio Norte locality of Las Cascadas, and these teeth are the first known evidence of New World Monkeys in North America. The discovery of the teeth has also rewritten the history of mammalian dispersals from South America to North America, as they are the oldest record of a mammal dispersing from South America to North America with an age of 20.93 ± 0.17 Ma.

To learn more about this key discovery, read the publication on it here.


Bloch, J. I., Woodruff, E. D., Wood, A. R., Rincon, A. F., Harrington, A. R., Morgan, G. S., Foster, D. A., Montes, C., Jaramillo, C. A., Jud, N. A., Jones, D. S., and MacFadden, B. J. 2016. First North American Fossil Monkey and Early Miocene Tropical Biotic Interchange. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature17415


Fossil Friday 2/26/16: A boa constrictor


A modern Boa constrictor imperator, which is a subspecies of Boa constrictor. Photo © Esteban Alzate.

This week’s Fossil Friday post highlights fossil vertebrae of the boa constrictor (binomial name: Boa constrictor) found in the Las Cascadas (UF 255000) and Cucaracha Formations (UF 237882 and UF 237883). These specimens represent some of the oldest fossil vertebrates from South America dispersing to Central America at 19.3 million years ago.

For images of the fossil specimens and for more information on them, be sure to read the publication on them here.


Head, J., Rincon, A., Suarez, C., Montes, C., and Jaramillo, C. 2012 Fossil evidence for earliest Neogene American faunal interchange: Boa (Serpentes, Boinae) from the early Miocene of Panama. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32: 1328-1334.

Fossil Friday 1/15/16: A camel mandible


UF 254113, the right mandible of Aguascalientia minuta. The left mandible of this particular individual (not shown here) was also recovered and has the same catalog number. Photo © VP FLMNH.

This week’s Fossil Friday is the mandible of the camel Aguascalientia minuta. This specimen was found at the Lirio Norte Graben site in the Las Cascadas Formation and is early Miocene in age. This fossil camel species is the smallest known floridatraguline (Family Floridatragulinae).

To learn more about this specimen, read the publication on it here. Also, be sure to check out another floridatraguline from Panama (Aguascalientia panamaensis) at one of our previous Fossil Friday posts here.


Rincon, A., Bloch, J.I., Suarez, C., MacFadden, B.J., and Jaramillo, C. 2012 New Floridatragulines (Mammalia, Camelidae) From The Early Miocene Las Cascadas Formation, Panama. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 32: 456-475.

Fossil Friday 1/16/15: A fossil camel

VP 236939 occlusal

An occlusal view (showing the biting/grinding surface of the teeth) of UF 236939, a partial dentary of Aguascalientia panamaensis. From this view, you can see that this dentary includes the left and right canines (c1), the right premolars (p1-3), and the right molars (m1-3). The lowercase letters denote that these teeth are lower teeth while the numbers describe the position in the mouth. (Photo © VP FLMNH)

This Fossil Friday I would like to introduce you to a floridatraguline camel from the early Miocene Las Cascadas Formation of the Panama Canal Area, Aguascalientia panamaensis. An interesting fact about this fossil is that both the first premolar and first canine are caniniform, a feature shared among the camels of the genus Aguascalientia. Floridatraguline camels (subfamily Floridatragulinae) are an extinct subfamily of llama-like camels characterized by elongated snouts and relatively primitive dentitions. In the early Miocene their distribution in the rest of North America was restricted to subtropical areas such as Florida, Mexico, and Texas.

To find out more about this specimen and other floridatraguline camels, read the publication describing them here.