A New Record of the Saber-Toothed Cat Megantereon (Felidae, Machairodontinae) From an Early Pleistocene Gigantopithecus Fauna, Yanliang Cave, Fusui, Guangxi, South China

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Here, we describe saber-toothed cat remains from the early Early Pleistocene (~2.0Ma) of Yanliang Cave, Fusui County, Guangxi Province, South China. Specimens, including a complete left dentary and right m1, are identified as Megantereon based on mandibular and dental characters. The Yanliang Megantereon is the smallest representative of the genus from Asia. Overall size, p4 and m1 dental proportions, the disposition of the p3, and dentary measurements align it with characters attributed to Megantereon whitei, a taxon not recorded from eastern Asia or China. Megantereon whitei is thought to be the most derived member of the genus. If the remains are M.whitei, or a closely related form, this represents an early occurrence of the group outside Africa. Other Megantereon specimens from China, that are roughly the same geologic age, or even younger, are considered to have a more primitive dentition than M.whitei. The Yanliang Megantereon, and our review, further demonstrates uncertainty in the evolutionary history of the group, the overall need for tighter chronologic control, and a systematic revision of the genus that includes discrete morphological characters.