Systematic status of the mid-Tertiary neobatrachian frog Calyptocephalella canqueli from Patagonia (Argentina), with comments on the evolution of the genush

Paula Muzzopappa, Ana M. Báez


The neobatrachian genus Calyptocephalella Strand, closely allied to the Australian myobatrachoids
in recent molecular analyses, is now restricted to lowland water bodies of the Austral forests of
Chile but had a broader distribution according to paleontological data. New, well-preserved material
from the early Miocene locality Estancia Baibián, Chubut Province, Argentina, is described herein and assigned
to Calyptocephalella canqueli Schaeffer, a species erected on the basis of Deseadan (late Oligocene)
specimens, but subsequently synonymized with the only living species, Calyptocephalella gayi Duméril and
Bibron. Detailed comparisons suggest that Calyptocephalella canqueli is a valid taxon representing frogs that
inhabited Patagonia east of the Andes in the late Oligocene-early Miocene; a revised diagnosis is provided
for the species. Palynological evidence coupled with the presence of C. canqueli document that humid
forests, dominated by the angiosperm Nothofagus, persisted near the Atlantic coast in the Miocene.
Disappearance of suitable habitats owing to a marked drying trend that started in the middle Miocene
may have been responsible for the demise of this anuran genus east of the Andes.

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