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Altner, Melanie and Reichenbacher, Bettina (2020): A small cichlid species flock from the Upper Miocene (9--10 MYA) of Central Kenya. In: Hydrobiologia, Vol. 848: pp. 3613-3637 [PDF, 6MB]


Fossil cichlids from East Africa offer unique insights into the evolutionary history and ancient diversity of the family on the African continent. Here we present three fossil species of the extinct haplotilapiine cichlid †Baringochromis gen. nov. from the upper Miocene of the palaeolake Waril in Central Kenya, based on the analysis of a total of 78 articulated skeletons. †Baringochromis senutae sp. nov., †B. sonyii sp. nov. and †B. tallamae sp. nov. are superficially similar, but differ from each other in oral-tooth dentition and morphometric characters related to the head, dorsal fin base and body depth. These findings indicate that they represent an ancient small species flock. Possible modern analogues of palaeolake Waril and its species flock are discussed. The three species of †Baringochromis may have begun to subdivide their initial habitat by trophic differentiation. Possible sources of food could have been plant remains and insects, as their fossilized remains are known from the same place where †Baringochromis was found.

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