WARENDJA WAKEFIELD1, A NEW GENUS OF WOMBAT (MARSUPIALIA, VOMBATIDAE) FROM PLEISTOCENE SEDIMENTS IN McEACHERNS CAVE, WESTERN VICTORIA By J. H. Hope 1 and H. E. Wilkinson 2 1 Department of Prehistory, Research School o\ Pacific Studies, Australian National University, Canberra. 2 Geological Survey Office, Department of Minerals and Energy, Bendigo. Abstract Two mandibles and six isolated teeth recovered from Pleistocene sediments in McEacherns Cave, western Victoria, represent a new genus and species of a morphologically primitive wombat. It combines unrooted, slightly bilobed molars showing little curvature, with a slender ramus, unlused symphysis, weak development of the masseteric and pterygoid fossae, a low-set articular condyle, and a broad coro- noid process. The associated faunal assemblage includes typical later Pleistocene taxa, such as Zvgomaturus triiobus, Sthenurus pilli, S. ef. occidentalis and Thylacoleo carnifex, Modern taxa, dominated by Rattus fuscipes, Antechinus stuartii and Perameles nasuta, indicate wet sclerophyll forest conditions. Introduction McEacherns Cave lies about 550 m south of the Glenelg River, in the Lower Glenelg Na- tional Park, southwestern Victoria. In 1963, A. C. Beauglehole and F. Davies discovered fossil mammal bones in the cave and commenced preliminary excavations in the floor sediments. This work was continued in 1964 and 1965 by the late N. A. Wakefield, who carried out ex- tensive excavations. In 1967, Wakefield pub- lished a preliminary report describing the cave and its sediments, and listing the faunal re- mains from the initial excavations in 1963 and 1964. The bulk of the material, only partly sorted, was deposited in the National Museum of Victoria in 1972, after Wakefield's death. In 1975, J. H. Hope commenced sorting the Wakefield Collection, and followed this by further excavations at McEacherns Cave in November-December 1977. In May 1978, the remains of a previously undescribed genus of wombat were found in the material from the 1964-5 excavation. The specimens have been registered in the palaeontological collection of the National Museum of Victoria. Terminology and Measurements Mandibular terminology follows Stirton (1967), and dental morphology Archer (1978). In this latter system, the permanent cheek teeth of vombatids are P3, M2, M3, M4 and M5. Measurements were made with a Mitutoyo dial caliper, to 0.1 mm. Memoirs of the National Museum Victoria, No. 43, 1982. Systematica The following diagnoses are not intended to be exhaustive at each taxonomic level, but rather are restricted to those features which can be observed on the type and referred specimens of Warendja wakefieldi. Superorder MARSUPIALIA Illiger, 1811 Order DIPROTODONTA Owen, 1866 Family VOMBATIDAE Burnett, 1830 Diagnosis: Distinguished from all other Mar- supialia by the presence of four bilobed, hyposodont, labially curved and open-rooted molars and open-rooted 11 and P3. Warendja gen. nov. Type species; Warendja wakefieldi sp. nov. Known distribution: Pleistocene, western Vic- toria. Diagnosis; Distinguished from all other vom- batids by small, sub-rectangular, minimally bilobed molars, which show little longitudinal curvature; smooth, unfused mandibular sym- physis; the combination of a broad ascending ramus and well developed coronoid process with poorly-developed masseteric and ptery- goid fossae; and the close approximation of the articular condyle to the plane of the mandibular tooth row. Etymology: In the language of the Woiwuro people of the Melbourne district, warendj means wombat (Hercus, 1969). 109



Warendja wakefieldi, a new genus of wombat (Maruspialia , Vombatidae) from Pleistocene sediments in McEacherns Cave, western Victoria

J H Hope and H E Wilkinson
Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria 43: 109-120 (1982)

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