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Article: An enigmatic new ungulate-like mammal from the early Eocene of India

Papers in Palaeontology - Volume 7 Issue 1 - Cover
Publication: Papers in Palaeontology
Volume: 7
Part: 1
Publication Date: Febuary 2021
Page(s): 497 520
Author(s): Shawn P. Zack, Kenneth D. Rose, Luke T. Holbrook, Kishor Kumar, Rajendra S. Rana, and Thierry Smith
DOI: 10.1002/spp2.1288
Addition Information

How to Cite

ZACK, S.P., ROSE, K.D., HOLBROOK, L.T., KUMAR, K., RANA, R.S., SMITH, T. 2021. . Papers in Palaeontology, 7, 1, 497-520. DOI: /doi/10.1002/spp2.1288

Author Information

  • Shawn P. Zack - Department of Basic Medical Sciences University of Arizona College of Medicine‐Phoenix Phoenix AZ 85004 USA
  • Shawn P. Zack - School of Human Evolution & Social Change Arizona State University Tempe AZ 85287 USA
  • Kenneth D. Rose - Center for Functional Anatomy & Evolution Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore MD 21205 USA
  • Luke T. Holbrook - Department of Biological Sciences Rowan University Glassboro NJ 08028 USA
  • Kishor Kumar - Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology 33 General Mahadeo Singh Road Dehradun Uttarakhand 248001 India
  • Rajendra S. Rana - Department of Geology H.N.B. Garhwal University Srinagar Uttarakhand 246175 India
  • Thierry Smith - Directorate Earth & History of Life Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences Rue Vautier 29 B‐1000 Brussels Belgium

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 08 March 2021
  • Manuscript Accepted: 26 June 2019
  • Manuscript Received: 08 May 2019

Funded By

Leakey Foundation
National Science Foundation. Grant Number: NSF DEB 1456826
National Geographic Society
Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology
Belgian Science Policy Office. Grant Number: BR/121/A3/PalEurAfrica

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library
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We report a new genus and species of herbivorous mammal, Pahelia mysteriosa, from the early Eocene Cambay Shale Formation, Tadkeshwar Lignite Mine, Gujarat, India. The new taxon, approximately the size of a small phenacodontid (e.g. Ectocion parvus), is represented by three mandibular fragments, the most complete of which documents nearly the entire symphysis and mandibular body plus P3–M3. Pahelia has incipiently selenolophodont molars with strong exodaenodonty, absent paraconids, weak but distinct entolophids, and prominent ectostylids. Molar size increases distally, but M3 does not develop a prominent third lobe. Premolars are simple, with prominent protoconids and short talonids but little development of other trigonid cusps. The mandibular symphysis is strongly fused, and there is an enlarged alveolus for an anterior tooth. The combination of features present in the new taxon does not closely match that of any known mammal, but there are some similarities to a diversity of ungulates from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Preserved morphology is insufficient to assess the affinities of the new taxon with confidence, but a link to Quettacyonidae, also endemic to the Indian subcontinent, is morphologically and biogeographically plausible. If this scenario is correct, it suggests that P. mysteriosa could be a part of the endemic mammalian fauna of India prior to its initial faunal contact with Asia.

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