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Record: oai:ARNO:319170

AuthorC.P. Groves
TitleNotes on the systematics of Babyrousa (Artiodactyla, Suidae)
JournalZoologische Mededelingen
Skins and skulls of Babyrousa babyrussa have been studied ; the species is divisible into three living subspecies : B. b. babyrussa (syn. frosti) from Buru and Sula, B. b. togeanensis from Malenge, and B. b. celebensis from the northern arm of Celebes. A skull from near Kulawi, central Celebes, tends towards babyrussa, and may represent a surviving population of the inadequately characterised B. b. bolabatuensis, known as a subfossil from the southern arm of Celebes. Teeth of the latter form decreased in size through time. The possibility of the species having been introduced into Buru and Sula is discussed.

The remarkable babirusa (genus Babirousa Perry, 1811) attracted early notice in western scientific circles, despite its restricted distribution (see Mohr, 1958 for a brief pre-Linnaean history). It commanded attention because of the bizarre appearance of the male, not only for Europeans but also, perhaps, for Indonesians (see below). Modern zoology has confirmed that it is indeed no "ordinary pig", as shown by the anatomical study of Davis (1940): alone among the Suidae it retains four terminal tendons to M. plantaris; the arrangement of tendons to M. extensor digitorum communis resembles the peccaries; M. coracobrachialis has two heads, as is usual in ruminants; the stomach is complex, and the origin of M. omohyoideus again resembles the peccaries (Saban, 1968). While Deninger's (1909) claim that it had descended from a Miocene anthracothere can surely no longer be maintained, Thenius (1970) could see no common ancestor with the other Suidae more recent than the Oligocene, justifying its allocation to a separate subfamily, Babyrousinae.
Document typearticle
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