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

Authors
  • 1
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings. Biological sciences
Publication Date
Volume
275
Issue
1639
Pages
1203–1208
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.1661
PMID: 18285282
Source
Medline

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 53 Myr 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 35 Myr. 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.

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