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Inproceedings Reference An enigmatic ungulate from the early Eocene of India
The early Eocene Cambay Shale Formation in Gujarat State, India has produced a rich mammalian fauna, including the earliest artiodactyls, perissodactyls, primates, hyaenodonts, rodents, lagomorphs, chiropterans, and tillodonts from the Indian Subcontinent. While some of these groups show endemism at the generic or familial level, all belong to clades that are widely distributed across Laurasian continents, and some show particularly close similarities to contemporary taxa from other continents, particularly Europe. We report here a distinctive new taxon, represented by a mandible with p3-m3 and a second mandibular fragment with m3. The morphology of the new taxon is broadly comparable to diverse early ungulates from around the world but shows a unique suite of features including a strongly fused mandibular symphysis, enlarged anterior tooth alveolus, simple premolars lacking paraconids and with only a rudimentary metaconid on p4, progressive size increase of the molars distally, molar exodaenodonty/unilateral hypsodonty, molar paraconids absent, hypoconulids absent on m1-2, incipient development of selenodont buccal cusps and an incipient entolophid formed by a transverse entoconid, well-developed, and prominent m3 hypoconulid. One particularly distinctive feature is the presence of large, cuspate ectostylids on molar hypoflexids. While there are similarities to a variety of taxa, most notably periptychids, louisinids, early African “ungulates” (Abdounodus, Ocepeia), and even early anthracotheres, none of these is detailed enough to indicate a close relationship, and all appear to be better interpreted as convergence. Our present understanding suggests that these fossils represent a new family of “condylarth”-grade ungulates perhaps endemic to India. Although their overall adaptations are very different, there are some intriguing similarities to another group of enigmatic Eocene mammals from the Indian Subcontinent, Quettacyonidae. While more material is needed to test this possible relationship, quettacyonids and the new taxon may represent remnants of the eutherian fauna present in India prior to its first faunal exchange with the northern continents, and the new taxon likely has a lengthy, undocumented history in the Indian Paleocene. Grant Information: Fieldwork and research supported by Leakey Foundation, National Geographic Society, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, and Belgian Science Policy Office.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Article Reference An exceptionally diverse Early Devonian flora from the Lochkovian of South Africa.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Article Reference An exceptionally diverse Early Devonian flora from the Lochkovian of South Africa
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inproceedings Reference An exceptionally well preserved primate petrosal from the Early Eocene of India
The Early Eocene (~54.5 Ma) Cambay Shale Formation at Vastan lignite mine (Gujarat, India) has yielded remains of both adapoid and omomyoid primates. The collection of primates includes not only jaws and teeth, but numerous exquisitely preserved postcranial elements. We report on the first cranial specimen for a primate from these deposits: an isolated left petrosal that preserves a partial stapes in anatomical position. The petrosal is identified as a primate based on the remnants of a petrosal bulla, and the presence of an ossified tube for the stapedial artery. The specimen documents a posterolateral entry of the internal carotid artery to the middle ear and a lateral course for the promontorial artery across the promontorium, characters most consistent with an attribution to Adapoidea. Of the adapoids published from the Vastan mine, body mass estimates based on the radii of the semicircular canals, calculated from high resolution microCT data, are most in line with previously calculated estimates for Marcgodinotius indicus, so the specimen is provisionally attributed to that species. Preserved anatomy is largely consistent with that described for Cantius. In particular, although the stapedial artery passed through a bony tube, the promontorial artery ran in an open groove from its origin off the internal carotid artery. This contrasts with the condition in omomyoids and most other adapoids, in which the promontorial artery was carried in a bony tube. The identification of an open groove for this artery in Cantius has been somewhat controversial, based on the state of preservation of published specimens. The petrosal from Vastan is extremely well preserved, demonstrating a clear opening in the internal carotid artery bony tube for the exit of the promontorial artery, and a well-demarcated groove on the promontorium for the latter artery that was clearly not enclosed. The absence of a bony tube for the promontorial artery in the oldest known adapoids suggests that the tube arose independently, in parallel, in Omomyoidea and Adapoidea. The promontorial artery is always enclosed in modern haplorhines, but when this artery is retained in living strepsirrhines it is often not fully enclosed by bone. Therefore, the primitive adapoid condition is more similar to that observed in Strepsirrhini. The antiquity and fine quality of preservation of this specimen make it relevant to reconstructing auditory morphology near the base of the primate tree. Grant Information Supported by an NSERC Discovery Grant to MTS and grants from the National Geographic Society and the Leakey Foundation to KDR.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Inproceedings Reference An extraordinary new site to study upper Frasnian cephalopods during the onset of anoxia in the Dinant basin.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2016
Inproceedings Reference An integrated approach to study complex urban site stratigraphy in Brussels: a state of the art.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Proceedings Reference An international conservation project for the Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris) in Greece: the first results.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Inproceedings Reference An introduction to the geology of the Mons Basin and the Bernissart Sinkhole, Belgium
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019
Inproceedings Reference An isotopic and trace element investigation of gossans from Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020
Inproceedings Reference An isotopic study of VMS deposit systems from the Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019