Early Eocene Primates from Gujarat, India

Kenneth D. Rose, Rajendra S. Rana, Ashok Sahni, Kishor Kumar, Pieter Missiaen, Lachham Singh, Thierry Smith

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89 Scopus citations


The oldest euprimates known from India come from the Early Eocene Cambay Formation at Vastan Mine in Gujarat. An Ypresian (early Cuisian) age of ∼53 Ma (based on foraminifera) indicates that these primates were roughly contemporary with, or perhaps predated, the India-Asia collision. Here we present new euprimate fossils from Vastan Mine, including teeth, jaws, and referred postcrania of the adapoids Marcgodinotius indicus and Asiadapis cambayensis. They are placed in the new subfamily Asiadapinae (family Notharctidae), which is most similar to primitive European Cercamoniinae such as Donrussellia and Protoadapis. Asiadapines were small primates in the size range of extant smaller bushbabies. Despite their generally very plesiomorphic morphology, asiadapines also share a few derived dental traits with sivaladapids, suggesting a possible relationship to these endemic Asian adapoids. In addition to the adapoids, a new species of the omomyid Vastanomys is described. Euprimate postcrania described include humeri, radii, femora, calcanei, and tali, most of which show typical notharctid features and are probably attributable to asiadapines. Anatomical features of the limb elements indicate that they represent active arboreal quadrupedal primates. At least one calcaneus is proximally shorter and distally longer than the others, resembling eosimiids in this regard, a relationship that, if confirmed, would also suggest an Asian or southeast Asian faunal connection. Isolated teeth from Vastan Mine recently attributed to a new eosimiid, Anthrasimias gujaratensis, appear to provide that confirmation. However, their attribution to Eosimiidae is equivocal. They are similar to teeth here tentatively referred to Marcgodinotius, hence A. gujaratensis may be a junior synonym of M. indicus. Corroboration of eosimiids at Vastan requires more compelling evidence. Although definitive conclusions are premature, available evidence suggests that the Vastan adapoids, at least, were derived from western European stock that reached India near the Paleocene-Eocene boundary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-404
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adapoidea
  • Eocene
  • Eosimiidae
  • India
  • Notharctidae
  • Omomyidae
  • Postcrania

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology


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