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New occurrence of Miocene freshwater crabs (Brachyura, Potamidae) in the North Alpine Foreland Basin, Germany, with a note on fossil Potamon to calibrate molecular clocks

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Chapter Summary

Miocene freshwater crabs remain a rarity in the North Alpine Foreland basin despite reports in the palaeontological literature dating back to the beginning of the XIXth century. We report on the presence of potamid freshwater crabs Potamon cf. speciosus (Von Meyer, 1844) (Decapoda, Potamidae) from the Middle Miocene locality at Giggenhausen near Freising, Germany. The biogeography of fossil Potamon is discussed and the use of the first occurrence date of Potamon in molecular phylogenetic studies as a calibration point for molecular clocks is evaluated. We propose that the earliest fossil from this genus, Potamon quenstedti (Zittel, 1885), belongs to the stem group of extant Potamon, but probably does not represent its direct ancestor because biogeographic and phylogenetic evidence indicates that Potamon originated in the Near/Middle East. This taxonomic uncertainty should be taken into account when calibrating molecular clocks with fossil Potamon.



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