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Palaeontology

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Title: FIRST REPORT OF SNAKES (SERPENTES) FROM THE LATE MIDDLE EOCENE PONDAUNG FORMATION, MYANMAR
Date of publication: March 2005
Description/subject: "The reptile fauna of the Eocene Pondaung Formation of central Myanmar (Fig. 1) has received little attention compared to its well-known mammalian fauna (e.g., Colbert, 1938; Tsubamoto et al., 2000). In prior reports, Buffetaut (1978) described indeterminate crocodylians and dyrosaurids. Hutchison et al. (in press) described carettochelyid, trionychid, testudinoid, and pelomedusoid turtles from the formation. They additionally noted the presence of agamid lizards, a pristichampsine crocodilian, and snakes. The snakes are described here. The occurrence of snakes in the Pondaung Formation is significant because the fossil history of Paleogene South Asian snakes has historically been under studied relative to the North American and European records (e.g., Rage, 1984; Szyndlar, 1984; Holman, 2000), despite hypotheses predicting the region as the origin of extant clades (e.g., Underwood and Stimson, 1990; Rage et al., 1992). The South Asian record consists primarily of marine palaeophiid taxa as well as terrestrial/terrigenous specimens referred to Boidae (Boinae + Erycinae, Table 1). The only derived snakes from the South Asian Paleogene are six colubrid vertebrae from the late Eocene Krabi Basin of Thailand (Rage et al., 1992) and a single vertebra referred to Colubroidea (possibly Colubridae) from the early Eocene of India (Rage et al., 2003). The absence of coeval colubroids elsewhere (Rage, 1988), combined with the occurrence of the Krabi Basin record, led Rage et al. (1992) to conclude that Asia represents the center of origin for Colubridae, the most speciose and diverse extant snake clade..."
Author/creator: JASON J. HEAD, PATRICIA A. HOLROYD, J. HOWARD HUTCHISON, and RUSSELL L. CIOCHON
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 25(1):246–250, March 2005
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 January 2008


Title: A new genus and species of hyaenodontid creodont from the pondaung formation (eocene, Myanmar)
Date of publication: June 2004
Description/subject: "...The Pondaung Formation in central Myanmar (Fig. 1) produces one of the richest Paleogene mammalian faunas in Southeast Asia. Research on the fauna, known for its diverse primates and ungulates, began in the early part of the twentieth century (e.g., Pilgrim and Cotter, 1916; Pilgrim, 1925, 1927, 1928; Colbert, 1937, 1938; Ba Maw et al., 1979; Ciochon et al., 1985; Holroyd and Ciochon, 1995, 2000; Jaeger et al., 1999; Chaimanee et al., 2000; Ducrocq et al., 2000; Tsubamoto et al., 2000, 2002a, 2003; Takai et al., 2001; Tsubamoto, 2001; Shigehara et al., 2002). However, the presence of mammalian predators was unknown in the fauna until 1997 when creodonts were discovered. Since 1997, the Pondaung mammalian fauna has been studied collaboratively by researchers from Myanmar, France, Japan, Thailand, and the United States. In subsequent field seasons, many taxa have been added to the fauna (Tsubamoto, 2001). In addition, geological study on the Pondaung Formation provided a radiometric age of 37.2 Ma at one of the fossil localities (Tsubamoto et al., 2002b), the first numerical date for the fauna..."
Author/creator: Naoko Egi, , Patricia A. Holroyd, Takehisa Tsubamoto, Nobuo Shigehara, Masanaru Takai, Soe Thura Tun, Aye Ko Aung, Aung Naing Soe.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 24(2):502–506, June 2004
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 01 January 2008


Title: The anthropoid status of a primate from the late middle Eocene Pondaung Formation (Central Myanmar): Tarsal evidence
Date of publication: 31 October 2003
Description/subject: "...Primate dental and postcranial remains from the Eocene Pondaung Formation (Myanmar) have been the subject of considerable confusion since their initial discoveries, and their anthropoid status has been widely debated. We report here a well preserved primate talus discovered in the Segyauk locality near Mogaung that displays derived anatomical features typical of haplorhines, notably anthropoids, and lacks strepsirhine synapomorphies. Linear discriminant and parsimony analyses indicate that the talus from Myanmar is more similar structurally to those of living and extinct anthropoids than to those of adapiforms, and its overall osteological characteristics further point to arboreal quadrupedalism. Regressions of talar dimensions versus body mass in living primates indicate that this foot bone might have belonged to Amphipithecus. This evidence supports hypotheses favoring anthropoid affinities for the large-bodied primates from Pondaung and runs contrary to the hypothesis that Pondaungia and Amphipithecus are strepsirhine adapiforms..."
Author/creator: Laurent Marivaux , Yaowalak Chaimanee, Bernard Marandat, Jean Sudre ,Aung Naing Soe, Soe Thura Tun, Stéphane Ducrocq, Wanna Htoon,, Jean-Jacques Jaeger.
Language: English
Source/publisher: PNAS
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 January 2008


Title: Primate postcrania from the late middle Eocene of Myanmar
Date of publication: 03 July 2001
Description/subject: Fossil primates have been known from the late middle to late Eocene Pondaung Formation of Myanmar since the description of Pondaungia cotteri in 1927. Three additional primate taxa, Amphipithecus mogaungensis, Bahinia pondaungensis and Myanmarpithecus yarshensis, were subsequently described. These primates are represented mostly by fragmentary dental and cranial remains. Here we describe the first primate postcrania from Myanmar, including a complete left humerus, a fragmentary right humerus, parts of left and right ulnae, and the distal half of a left calcaneum, all representing one individual. We assign this specimen to a large species of Pondaungia based on body size and the known geographic distribution and diversity of Myanmar primates. Body weight estimates of Pondaungia range from 4,000 to 9,000 g, based on humeral length, humeral midshaft diameter, and tooth area by using extant primate regressions. The humerus and ulna indicate that Pondaungia was capable of a wide variety of forelimb movements, with great mobility at the shoulder joint. Morphology of the distal calcaneus indicates that the hind feet were mobile at the transverse tarsal joint. Postcrania of Pondaungia present a mosaic of features, some shared in common with notharctine and adapine adapiforms, some shared with extant lorises and cebids, some shared with fossil anthropoids, and some unique. Overall, Pondaungia humeral and calcaneal morphology is most consistent with that of other known adapiforms. It does not support the inclusion of Pondaungia in Anthropoidea
Author/creator: Russell L. Ciochon, Philip D.Gingerich, Gregg F. Gunnell, and Elwyn L. Simons
Language: English
Source/publisher: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (PNAS): Vol. 98, No. 14, 76727677, July 3, 2001
Format/size: pdf (320 kb)
Alternate URLs: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=11438722
http://www.uiowa.edu/~bioanth/PNAS-Pondaungia.pdf
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=35400
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: A lower jaw of Pondaungia cotteri from the Late Middle Eocene Pondaung Formation (Myanmar) confirms its anthropoid status
Date of publication: 11 April 2000
Description/subject: Abstract: Pondaungia cotteri is the largest primate known from the Late Middle Eocene Pondaung Formation, Myanmar. Its taxonomic status has been the subject of much debate because of the fragmentary nature of its remains. Initially described as an anthropoid, some authors recently have associated it with adapid primates. These debates have been fueled not only by the incompleteness of the fossils attributed to Pondaungia but also by the reticence of many authors to regard Asia as an important evolutionary theater for Eocene anthropoids. During the November 1998 Myanmar-French Pondaung Expedition, a right lower jaw was discovered that yields the most nearly complete dentition of Pondaungia cotteri ever found: it shows the complete horizontal ramus, alveoli for the second incisor and canine, three premolars, and three molars. The symphysis showed all characteristics of anthropoids but was unfused. The canine root is large, the first premolar is absent, and the second premolar is single-rooted, reduced, and oblique in the tooth row, as in anthropoids. The premolars show a reduced mesio-distal length compared with the tooth row, and their morphology is very similar to that of Amphipithecus mogaungensis. Therefore, the two Pondaung taxa appear to be closely related to each other, with Siamopithecus as their sister taxon
Author/creator: Yaowalak Chaimanee, Tin Thein, Stephane Ducrocq, Aung Naing Soe, Mouloud Benammi, Than Tun, Thit Lwin, San Wai, Jean-Jacques Jaeger
Language: English
Source/publisher: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (PNAS): Vol. 97, No. 8, 41024105, April 11, 2000
Format/size: Full text
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Remaking Myanmar and human origins
Date of publication: 04 August 1999
Description/subject: "...an account of the role of pagoda relics and museum fossils in SLORC-SPDC concepts of nation-building... Here I examine two notable features of this regime. Desperate for national and international recognition, it began the large-scale renovation and construction of pagodas, on the one hand, and museums, palaces and ancient monasteries on the other. These constructions have taken place on a scale and with a rapidity never before witnessed in the history of Southeast Asia. It has decided to renovate and rebuild all the thousands of pagodas in the 11th century capital Pagan. It is furthermore committing enormous funds to pagodas all over the country. At least two dozen new museums have been built. These house ancient heritage, but also the history of the army and the Pondaung fossils, that it claims represent the oldest humanoids of the world. The latter, it hopes, places the Myanmar people on the world's map as the oldest civilization. It also has rebuilt all ancient palaces in the ancient capitals. As I hope to show, these are vital elements at the heart of the regime's "new" ideology I have dubbed "Myanmafication", after their decision to rename the country Myanmar in 1989..."
Author/creator: Gustaaf Houtman
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Anthropology Today", Vol. 15, No. 4, August 1999, pp 13-19
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 08 July 2010


Title: Asian Roots? Burmese find stirs speculation
Date of publication: 21 May 1979
Description/subject: "Where did the primate line that led to man really originate? Lately most of the evidence has pointed to Africa, where scientists have found the bones of a knuckle-walking ape called Dryopithecus, a creature that lived some 20 million years ago and is generally believed to have given rise to both apes and man. This ape's own ancestors seem likely to have lived in Africa as well. As Exhibit A, Duke University Anthropologist Elwyn Simons offered fossils, found near Cairo, of a tree-dwelling primate 30 million years old; Simons christened the creature Aegyptopithecus. Last week, however, a team of Burmese and American scientists created a stir in anthropological circles when they announced that they had found primate fossils in Burma that may be 40 million years old. That could plant man's roots in Southeast Asia..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: TIME/CNN
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 January 2008