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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / A ziphodont crocodylomorph from the Eraly Eocene of Vastan Lignite Mine (Gujarat, India)

Massimo Delfino, Jeremy E. Martin, Kenneth D. Rose, Ashok Sahni, Kishor Kumar and Thierry Smith (2014)

A ziphodont crocodylomorph from the Eraly Eocene of Vastan Lignite Mine (Gujarat, India)

In: XII Annual Meeting of the European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists Torino, Italy 24-28 June 2014, ed. by Massimo Delfino, Giorgio Carnevale, Simone Colombero, Daniele Ormezzano, Giulio Pavia, Marco Pavia & Giovanni Repetto, vol. Abstract Book, pp. 49, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra - Università degli Studi di Torino, Torino, Italy, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra - Università degli Studi di Torino.

Since 2004, the early Eocene Vastan lignite mine (Cambay Shale Formation, Gujarat, Western India) has yielded a rich herpetofauna with frogs, snakes, and lizards (Rage et al., 2008; Folie et al., 2013; Rana et al., 2013). But it is only in January 2012 that the first crocodylomorph remains were retrieved all together in one very thin lens of a few meters width. This small collection includes 4 teeth, 3 fragmentary vertebrae, 1 fragmentary femur, and 2 metapodials. All the teeth are characterized by being distinctly elongated and labiolingually compressed. When well preserved, the mesiodistal carinae bear distinct serrations of the enamel (the ziphodont condition). The largest crown available is estimated to be at least 30 mm tall. In labial or lingual view, the outline of the crown is rather symmetrical. On the other hand, the smallest tooth is asymmetrical being curved in labial view with a nearly straight distal margin and a convex mesial margin. The fragmentary vertebrae share a slightly amphicoelous condition of the centrum. The largest centrum is 32.9 mm long and the neurocentral suture not clearly visible. A modest but well visible hypapophysis is placed close to the anterior edge of the centrum of both these vertebrae. The fragmentary left femur is represented by a proximal portion 45.0 mm long, extending from the totally eroded epiphysis to slightly distally to the fourth trochanter. The largest diameter at the level of the trochanter is 11.6 mm. The ziphodont crocodylomorph teeth reported from a few Paleogene localities of the Indian subcontinent have been referred to both Pristichampsinae and Sebecosuchidae (Sahni & Srivastava, 1976; Buffettaut, 1978; Sahni et al., 1978; Gupta & Kumar, 2013). However, the latter taxon is considered absent in the Tertiary of Asia and amphyplatian vertebrae found in association with ziphodont teeth have been referred to dyrosaurids (Buffettaut, 1978; Turner & Calvo, 2005). Although non-eusuchian crocodylomorphs are restricted to two groups in the Paleogene (Dyrosauridae and Sebecosuchia), our limited knowledge of their postcranial anatomy renders identification of fragmentary remains difficult. Different hypotheses for the identity of the crocodylomorph remains from Vastan are presented.
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