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Introduction

Patriomanis americanus was a species of pangolin that lived in the late Eocene era, some 30-40 million years ago. A pangolin is a small, peculiar mammal that is covered in broad scales made of keratin (the same material as fingernails), which act as armor. The eight species of modern pangolins are restricted to Africa and Asia.  P. americanus is the only pangolin known from the western hemisphere and lived in western North America (Emry 1970).  Studies show that this early form was already very similar to modern pangolins, differing in only small skeletal characteristics, though it is most closely related to an Asian fossil pangolin, Cryptomanis gobiensis (Gaudin 2006).  Fossil evidence of pangolins is very sparse, because this group is adapted to eating colonial insects and has no teeth (which comprise the most common fossils) (Gebo and Rasmussen 1985).  Its first fossils were found in Alcova, Wyoming, and initially mis-identified as an “immature carnivore” (Emry 1970).

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