Early Eocene lagomorph (Mammalia) from Western India and the early diversification of Lagomorpha

Kenneth D. Rose, Valerie Burke DeLeon, Pieter Missiaen, R. S. Rana, Ashok Sahni, Lachham Singh, Thierry Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We report the oldest known record of Lagomorpha, based on distinctive, small ankle bones (calcaneus and talus) from Early Eocene deposits (Middle Ypresian equivalent, ca 53Myr ago) of Gujarat, west-central India. The fossils predate the oldest previously known crown lagomorphs by several million years and extend the record of lagomorphs on the Indian subcontinent by 35Myr. The bones show a mosaic of derived cursorial adaptations found in gracile Leporidae (rabbits and hares) and primitive traits characteristic of extant Ochotonidae (pikas) and more robust leporids. Together with gracile and robust calcanei from the Middle Eocene of Shanghuang, China, also reported here, the Indian fossils suggest that diversification within crown Lagomorpha and possibly divergence of the family Leporidae were already underway in the Early Eocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1203-1208
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume275
Issue number1639
DOIs
StatePublished - May 22 2008

Keywords

  • China
  • Early Eocene
  • India
  • Lagomorpha
  • Leporidae
  • Shanghuang

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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