Anthracobunids from the Middle Eocene of India and Pakistan Are Stem Perissodactyls
journal contributionposted on 01.10.2014, 00:00 by Lisa Noelle Cooper, Erik R. Seiffert, Mark T. Clementz, Sandra I. Madar, Sunil Bajpai, Sofia Taseer Hussain, Johannes G. M. Thewissen
Anthracobunidae is an Eocene family of large mammals from south Asia that is commonly considered to be part of the radiation that gave rise to elephants (proboscideans) and sea cows (sirenians). We describe a new collection of anthracobunid fossils from Middle Eocene rocks of Indo-Pakistan that more than doubles the number of known anthracobunid fossils and challenges their putative relationships, instead implying that they are stem perissodactyls. Cranial, dental, and postcranial elements allow a revision of species and the recognition of a new anthracobunid genus. Analyses of stable isotopes and long bone geometry together suggest that most anthracobunids fed on land, but spent a considerable amount of time near water. This new evidence expands our understanding of stem perissodactyl diversity and sheds new light on perissodactyl origins.