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Thierry Smith, Kishor Kumar, Rajendra S Rana, Floréal Solé, Annelise Folie, Ashok Sahni, and Kenneth D Rose (2015)

New Early Eocene mammal assemblage from Tadkeshwar Lignite Mine, Western India

In: Society of Vertebrate Paleontology October 2015, ed. by Amber MacKenzie; Erin Maxwell; Jessica Miller-Camp, vol. Astracts of papers 75th Annual Meeting, pp. 216, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The Ypresian Cambay Formation at Vastan and Mangrol mines in Gujarat, western India, has yielded a rich vertebrate fauna with a large proportion of small to middle-sized mammal taxa of European affinities. Here we report a new, approximately contemporary mammal assemblage from the nearby mine of Tadkeshwar. Two fossil layers have been discovered. The older one is a grey clayey sand situated a few meters above the lower major lignite seam and represents a fluvial deposit. The younger layer is a lenticular dark clayey silt, lignitic and rich in organic remains situated just below the upper major lignite seam. This younger layer is sedimentologically similar to the famous fossiliferous lenses known from Vastan. These two fossil layers have yielded a mammal fauna similar to that of Vastan with the co-occurrence of the perissodactyl-like cambaytheriid Cambaytherium thewissi, the adapoid primates Marcgodinotius indicus and Asiadapis cambayensis, and the hyaenodontid Indohyaenodon raoi. The presence of these species in both mines and at different levels suggests that the deposits between the two major lignite seams represent a single mammal age. Apart from the aforementioned classic species there are at least two new species. A new smaller but abundant cambaytheriid is represented by upper and lower jaws, many isolated teeth and postcranial bones. A new esthonychid tillodont is described based on a dentary with m3, an isolated m2, two upper molars and two lower incisors. This new fauna from Tadkeshwar also contains the first large early Eocene vertebrates from India including an unidentified perissodactyl-like ungulate, a mesosuchian dyrosaurid-like crocodiliform and a giant madtsoiid snake. This latter group is particularly diversified in Tadkeshwar. Among the Tadkeshwar vertebrates, several taxa are of Gondwanan affinities attesting that the early Eocene was a crucial period in India during which Laurasian taxa of European affinities coexisted with relict taxa from Gondwana before the India-Asia collision. Grant Information Fieldwork and research supported by National Geographic Society, Leakey Foundation, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Belgian Science Policy Office.
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