A lower jaw fragment with its last molar (M/3) from the Baid formation in Wadi Sabya, southwestern Saudi Arabia, represents the first recorded occurrence in the Arabian Peninsula of an anthracotheriid artiodactyl (hippo-like, even-toed ungulate). This fossil is identified as a primitive species of Masritherium, a North and East African genus restricted, previously to the later early Miocene. This identification indicates that the age of the Baid formation, long problematical, is early Miocene and, moreover, shows that the age of the fossil site is earliest Miocene (from 25 to 21Ma). The Wadi Sabya anthracothere is the first species of fossil mammal recorded from western Saudi Arabia, and more important, it indicates an early Miocene age for the volcanic deposits of a continental rift-valley that preceded the initial sea-floor spreading of the Red Sea.
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Mastritherium (Artiodactyla, Anthracotheriidae) from Wadi Sabya, southwestern Saudi Arabia; an earliest Miocene age for continental rift-valley volcanic deposits of the Red Sea margin