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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / New primate postcrania from the Eraly Eocene of Vastan Mine, Gujarat, India

Rachel Dunn, Kenneth Rose, Kishor Kumar, and Thierry Smith (2013)

New primate postcrania from the Eraly Eocene of Vastan Mine, Gujarat, India

In: Abstract of paper, Supplement to the online Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 73rd meeting, Los Angeles, CA, USA, October 30 - November 2, 2013, pp. 118.

The Cambay Formation at Vastan Mine in Gujarat yields the oldest fossil primates known from India. New age estimates suggest that the fossils date from approximately 54.5 Ma (early Ypresian), about 2 million years older than initially thought and comparable in age to early Wasatchian Wa-4 faunas from North America. The Vastan primate fauna comprises predominantly the asiadapine adapoids Marcgodinotius and Asiadapis. Two species of omomyid primates, Vastanomys gracilis and V. major, are much rarer, each known from a single dental specimen. In addition to primate dental remains, Vastan Mine has produced the best preserved early Eocene primate postcranial elements known from anywhere in the world. Here we present new limb bones, including humeri, ulnae, femora, tibiae, and a talus, from three of the recognized primate species. They include the first omomyid postcrania from India: two femora, a talus, and a potential proximal tibia. We also report additional asiadapine postcrania: a pristine femur of Marcgodinotius and the first complete tibia of Asiadapis. Five new humeri (two complete) consist of one asiadapine and four that lack specializations of either group, making allocation difficult. Two ulnae are attributed to indeterminate euprimates due to lack of adequate comparative material. The elements attributed to Vastanomys are more primitive than any other known omomyid postcrania and are only subtly different from those of asiadapines, in contrast to the more distinct postcranial bones of their middle and late Eocene relatives. The femora attributed to Vastanomys exhibit features suggestive of leaping behavior (cylindrical femoral heads, lateral condyle higher than medial, proximal position of the third trochanter), as in other omomyids. However, while the talus of Vastanomys resembles those of omomyids more than those of other primates, features such as the relatively short, medially angled neck, and oval rather than spherical head suggest that Vastanomys was not as specialized for leaping as younger omomyids. Although asiadapines have been described as close to notharctids in morphology, the relatively wider distal femur and symmetrical condyles of Marcgodinotius resemble adapids more than notharctids and may also reflect less leaping. The revised age of the fossils, together with the similarity in morphology of omomyid and asiadapine postcrania, suggests that the postcrania, like the teeth of the most primitive members of each family, are converging toward a common morphology as we approach the base of the Eocene.
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