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Class Mammalia
Order Rodentia
Family Cricetidae
Subfamily Neotominae
Genus Neotoma


Neotoma pygmaea Harris 1984—Pygmy WoodratRegional Pleistocene distribution of Neotoma pygmaea.

Neotoma pygmaea was named from fossils recovered from the Lost Valley site (UTEP 1, 17) in Dry Cave; it also is known from another Dry Cave site, Room of the Vanishing Floor (UTEP 26, 27). The name reflects the very small size of the woodrat. The holotype (UTEP 1-1230, Fig. 1) is a left dentary with i1, M1-2, and lacking the coronoid and angular process and the dorsal part of the alveolus of m3.

This taxon was referenced by Harris (1984b) as Species B. The diagnosis was given by (Harris 1984d:565): "Differs from all known members of the genus except Neotoma (Paraneotoma) minutus and N. (Neotoma) goldmani in small size. Differs from N. (P.) minutus in enamel of M3 wear surface not forming an S-shape as in that species (Dalquest, 1983). Differs from N. (N.) goldmani in better development of the M1 lateral dentine tract, more posterior placement of second internal reentrant fold of M1, deeper anterointernal groove of M1 in relation to width of L1, shorter and narrower M2, more ventrally placed anterior tip of masseteric shield, and longer dentary." Harris (1984d) suggested that N. pygmaea may be ancestral to N. goldmani, having a number of features in common in addition to small size.

Holotype of Neotoma pygmaea

Fig. 1. Lateral and medial views of the holotype of Neotoma pygmaea, UTEP 1-1230. Scale in mm.

Table 1. Measurements (mm) for the holotype of Neotoma pygmaea and for available samples of N. pygmaea and N. goldmani. Measurements marked by * are from dentaries lacking m1 and thus not as securely identified. After Harris (1984d).

Measurements of Neotoma pygmaea


Early/Early-Mid Wisconsin: Lost Valley (Harris 1984d); Rm Vanishing Floor (Harris 1984d); Sabertooth Camel Maze (Harris 1993c: cf.).

Literature. Dalquest 1983; Harris 1984b, 1984d.


Last Update: 7 Sep 2009