A Cretaceous Hoofed Mammal from India

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Science  09 Nov 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5852, pp. 937
DOI: 10.1126/science.1149267

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The sedimentary record documenting the northward drift of India (Late Cretaceous to late Early Eocene) has recently provided important clues to the evolution, radiation, and dispersal of mammals. Here, we report a definitive Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) archaic ungulate (Kharmerungulatum vanvaleni genus et species nova) from the Deccan volcano-sedimentary sequences exposed near Kisalpuri village in Central India. This find has important implications for the origin and diversification of early ungulates and raises three possible paleobiogeographic scenarios: (i) Archaic ungulates may have been cosmopolitan in distribution. (ii) Kharmerungulatum might be an immigrant from Western Asia. (iii) Archaic ungulates may have originated in India.

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