For the first time, Indian paleontologists have discovered fossils from monkeys from Gujarat homoeoids.
Researchers believe this is important because this is the first evidence of the presence of monkeys outside the Himalayas. "Such landscapes are a global rarity, and every new place is very excited," says Anjuya Bhandery, a paleontologist at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleochautics, Lucknow, who discovered the fossil record and led the study.
"This discovery is very important [as it indicates] similar environmental conditions 11 million years ago in Kutch and in the Himalayan region, "V.P. Mishra, former Deputy Director-General of the Geological Society of India, told The Wire, who did not participate in the study.
Researchers have succeeded in making the fossil 10.8 million years ago (Miha) from the Miocene era.
This geological period lasts between 23 and 5 mi. He has discarded many remnants of homoids that have contributed to our understanding of the evolution of humans since the first such fossil was discovered on the Potwar Plateau in Pakistan in 1879. Over the last 140 years, fossils from Miocene epochs have been discovered alongside at the foot of Sivalak in the Himalayas in Pakistan, India and Nepal only ", according to Bhadari.
This means that this discovery is a potential player. "Now we know this Sivapithecus"- the ancestor of modern monkeys, resembled an orangutan and lived in a miocene between 12.5 and 8.5 mi -" has quite a wide range, from Kutch to the south and west to Nepal to the north and east, "says David R. Started an anthropologist at the University of Toronto, Canada – It must have been a successful species to be found in so many places about 10 million years ago.
In other words, paleontologists could find more fossils from the region. If they do, they will be able to build a clearer picture of how these ancestors of the big monkeys could migrate to the south of the Himalayas.
"This discovery by Kutch will help a lot in understanding the link between the Himalayan fauna and the Indian peninsula," Bhadari said.
In India, most fossils are found in the Hari Talianagar and Rammagar basins in Jammu and Kashmir. Fossagar's fossils are dated from about 12.7 mya and fossils from Hari Talianagar, between 9.2 and 8.6 mya.
The Miocene homoins are divided into two groups: the larger ones Indopithecus and smaller ones Sivapithecus, The only species in the first group, Indopithecus giganteus, was reported by Hari Talianagar in 1969. Three species of the species Sivapithecus – S. indicus, S. parvada and S. sivalensis – are found in the Pakistani and Indian mountains of Sival.
"We did not expect to find the homoid here (Kutch)," says Sunny Bypay, who heads the Department of Natural Sciences at IIT Roorkee and is part of the study.
But Bhadari and Bypay were hoping. In the winter of 2011, they were in Khat, looking for fossils. The area has ejected many fossils in the past, including those of whales, crocodiles, sea turtles, turtles and other marine creatures. Several years ago, they discovered remains of giraffes, rhinos and animals that resemble elephants and wild boars today. These discoveries allowed them to admit that these creatures migrated from Africa and Europe at the time of the super-continent Gondwana.
To assemble the geological chronology of these events, the team began to search for fossil remains of rodents, among the first animals to colonize a region.
Towards the end of this field trip, the rocky clearing with some models attracted Bhandary's attention. Some digging and cleaning around the template revealed a jaw, the first indication that the homoins traveled south of the Himalayas.
Researchers believe the fossil is the upper upper jaw of an adult homoinid. It includes parts of the compressed ridge that contains dental sockets that connect to the cheekbone and ridge of the mouth.
Canine and molar teeth can also be identified. Cardiac tomography reveals that although the enamel caps were damaged, it was possible to calculate the size of the teeth.
The proportions of dog and premoler were closer to Sivapithecus from IndopithecusIn particular, the first and the second molar were round with poorly developed reeds, as well as in other Sivapithecus and mayonnaise monkeys.
Although this feature grew, the team wanted to make sure they were on the right track anyway. So they took the help of a horse.
In 2011 the team discovered the remains of Hipparion for the first time. Best of all, Hipparion is the forerunner of the modern horse and originates from North America. According to Bhandary, her presence is a "biological marker" as it spreads in Gondwand between 2 and 22 Mia. Her jaw Hipparion the fossils were dated to about 11 mya. Indopithecus for the first time showed 9 maa. Thus, the jaw probably belongs to a Sivapithecus monkey.
The Miocene era, between 15 and 7 mi, had a warm, humid climate with evergreen and deciduous forests covering large parts of the northern Indian subcontinent. These forests ultimately give way to savannah with open and dry habitats. The species inhabiting these forests moved to the south or died.
"I just want to show that there is a connection between the Himalayan fauna and the Khat region," Bhadari said, probably due to similar living conditions. "But we need more fossils from the region to split the puzzle together."
The study was published in the journal ONLY on 14 November 2018
Vrushan Pendharkar is a freelance writer.