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The eosimiid and amphipithecid primates (Anthropoidea) from the Oligocene of the Bugti hills (Balochistan, Pakistan): new insight into early higher primate evolution in South Asia.
Laurent Marivaux
Keywords: Amphipithecidae; anthropoid phylogney; Bugti Hills; Early Oligocene; Eosimiidae; Pakistan

    Eosimiid and amphipithecid primates document a long and significant history of primate evolution throughout the Eocene in Southeast Asia. Despite the absence of a comprehensive post-Eocene fossil record, it was generally hypothesized that both families left no descendant in Asia. Recently, two new small-bodied taxa, Bugtipithecus and Phileosimias, have been recovered in early Oligocene coastal deposits from the Bugti Hills (Balochistan, central Pakistan) and referred to the families Amphipithecidae and Eosimiidae, respectively, on the basis of dental fossil remains. In this paper, we provide more exhaustive description, comparison, and discussion of these taxa. As for tarsiid and sivaladapid primates, the persistence of eosimiids and amphipithecids into the Oligocene clearly demonstrates that low latitudes of South Asia provided a continuous access to tropical refugia during the climatic deterioration characterizing the late Eocene-early Oligocene interval, which was seemingly lethal for primate communities elsewhere across the Holarctic continents. As a contribution to the ongoing phylogenetic debates regarding the position of eosimiids and amphipithecids on the primate family tree, we have performed a cladistic analysis in a high-level primate systematic context in order to assess the position and the role of these new taxa in that phylogenetic issue. Our results support the view according to which eosimiids and amphipithecids (and by extension Phileosimias and Bugtipithecus, respectively) are stem anthropoids. These fossils from Pakistan document an unsuspected Oligocene phase of the evolutionary history of anthropoid primates in southern Asia, which clearly enhances the extent of the anthropoid radiation in this province during the Paleogene. Several phylogenetic and paleobiogeographic aspects are discussed, notably the intra- and inter-relationships between Paleogene Asian and Afro-Arabian anthropoids, and the resulting potential dispersal models between both land-masses during the Paleogene. 

  Article infos

Published in Vol. 34, Fasc. 1-2 (2006)

Preliminary evolution of paleosols and implications for interpreting vertebrate fossil assemblages, Kuldana formation, Northern Pakistan
Andres Aslan and J. G. M. Thewissen
Keywords: Eocene; Kuldana Formation; Pakistan; Paleosols; Pedogenic Carbonate; Taphonomy; Time Averaging; Vertebrate Fossils

    Paleosols and the taphonomy of vertebrate fossils in the Eocene Kuldana Formation of northern Pakistan provide important information on the preservation and time-averaging of fossil assemblages. Morphologic, mineralogic, and chemical data as well as comparisons with Quaternary soils suggest that Kuldana paleosols formed under generally dry and oxidizing conditions over time intervals of less than 100 000 years and perhaps as short as 1000 years. The distribution of carbonate in Kuldana paleosols further indicates that the upper half of the profiles were acidic whereas the lower halves were alkaline. Vertebrate fossils are rare in Kuldana paleosols and occur primarily in well-cemented sandstones and conglomerates with abundant micritic and iron-stained nodules that were reworked from floodplain soils. The scarcity of vertebrate remains in Kuldana paleosols probably reflects a combination of acidic, dry, and oxidizing conditions in the upper half of the profiles and rapid floodplain sedimentation. Comparisons between the taphonomic characteristics of Kuldana channel fossil assemblages and bone accumulations in modem rivers provide a basis for estimating the length of time represented by Kuldana fossils from several important localities. Vertebrate fossil assemblages from Barbora Banda are characterized by a low-diversity paleofauna, partially articulated skeletons, and bones that are sorted by size and shape. Comparison with bone accumulations in modern rivers suggests that the fossils from Barbora Banda accumulated in 1 to 10 years. Vertebrate fossils from the Lower Kuldana in the Kala Chitta Hills region, typified by locality H-GSP 62, are characterized by a high-diversity paleofauna and generally random and unsorted fossil bone distributions, which suggest that the fossils from these localities represent longer time intervals than the Barbora Banda fossils. Based on the time estimates for Kuldana paleosol development, fossil assemblages in Kuldana channel deposits in the Kala Chitta Hills region probably represent time intervals of about 1000 years. 

  Article infos

Published in Vol. 25, Fasc. 2-4 (1996)