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PhilipEdwin's avatar

Macrauchenia patachonica

Dueling litopterns.
Two versions of Macrauchenia patachonica are illustrated here.

The first is similar to how they've been commonly portrayed since Walking with Beasts "Sabertooth" episode, with a little kudu striping in my attempt to be original. It's based on the idea that Lipoterns are near condylarths and distantly related to other types of ungulate.

The second illustration is based on the idea that Litopterna are Xenarthrans like glyptodonts, ground sloths, and anteaters; and only have a superficial similarity to other types of ungulates, because they played the same role in the South American ecosystem.
Image details
Image size
1548x1958px 2.37 MB
Canon PowerShot A75
Shutter Speed
1/318 second
Focal Length
5 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Dec 18, 2004, 5:47:57 PM
Sensor Size
© 2014 - 2022 PhilipEdwin
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dylan613's avatar
Hi, I think you might find this interesting. In 2018, some paleontologists found out that Macrauchenia did not have a trunk. Just letting you know!
PhilipEdwin's avatar

Yes, I read that too. I'll have to make a new revision.

CartoonBen's avatar
:) (Smile) I like the way you made the macrauchenia at the bottom of the picture (mostly the face, even though the idea of them being closely related to anteaters kind of leaves me baffled :ponder:).
PhilipEdwin's avatar
Heh, four days before I uploaded this, a protein study placed them close to Perissodactyla. So the whole Xenarthran idea was toast before I even posted it.
CartoonBen's avatar
:) (Smile) Makes sense to me. Macrauchenia and tapirs have a lot in common with each other with their long noses and their hooves. Am I right?
PhilipEdwin's avatar
Never really thought about that connection before
CartoonBen's avatar
:shrappy: Well if you think about it, that would have been true. :ponder: On the other hand, there's the scientific studies that suggest that macrauchenia never had a long nose. :meh: But to each is their own (whether it's a fact or not). Have you heard about it though?
PhilipEdwin's avatar
Yeah, I was just reading about macrauchenia noses a while back at Darren Naish's blog at Scientific American... or maybe it was Laelaps.
Anyway, the short trunk never really made sense to me when paired with a long neck, it seemed like a duplication of function. However men with better credentials than me came up with the trunk idea so I just rolled with it.

Maybe I'll try a short nose version next.
CartoonBen's avatar
:shrappy: Well, this won't be my suggestion for you (because this will be my own idea for macrauchenia paleoart as soon as I tell you about it), but I thought I'd let you know what I would come up with if I were to make my own paleoart of macrauchenia. Not only would I give it an inflateable nasal passage, that's akin to muttaburrasaurus, but I would also give it a prehensile lip that's similar to rhinos and moose.
PhilipEdwin's avatar
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Guyverman's avatar
In March of 2015, it has been determined that the creatures were the closest sister group to the Perissodactyls (Odd-toed ungulates) based on analysis of preserved collagen sequences.
PhilipEdwin's avatar
Yes, that's what Zimices says above too.
The abstract on protein sequences was released to the 4th International Palaeontological Congress the very same week I posted this picture. What're the odds.
DinosaurianDude's avatar
Very well reconstructed, as evidence certainly heads toward the upper reconstruction of relation to condylarths. It's in this link:…
PhilipEdwin's avatar
Great link, thanks Dinosaurian.
DinosaurianDude's avatar
AnonymousLlama428's avatar
PhilipEdwin's avatar
Thanks AnonymousLlama
Orionide5's avatar
Great reconstruction!
PhilipEdwin's avatar
Thanks Orionide5
Zimices's avatar
Acoording to MacPhee, Welker, Thomas, Brace, 2014, Ancient protein sequencing resolves Litoptern and Notoungulate superordinal affinities. Abstract Volume of 4th International Palaeontological Congress. The History of life: A view from the Southern Hemisphere, Mendoza, Argentina. 2014, p. 186. the "meridiungulatans" could be closer to Perissodactyla, than to xenarthrans. I like that in your recosntruction you put a small trunk, the nature of the nose of Macrauchenia is also very debated and lastly I've read the idea that coudl be more smilar to the nose of saigas than tapirs.
PhilipEdwin's avatar
Zimices's avatar
I've read it in the comments of Tetrapod Zoology :)
PhilipEdwin's avatar
I usually just read Darren's articles, I never thought to browse the comments. Looks like I'll have to start.
Zimices's avatar
Trust me: you even can find gold in the comments :D
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