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A first possible chameleon from the late Miocene of India (the hominoid site of Haritalyangar): a tentative evidence for an Asian dispersal of chameleons

Author:
Sankhyan, Anek R., Čerňanský, Andrej
Source:
Die Naturwissenschaften 2016 v.103 no.11-12 pp. 94
ISSN:
0028-1042
Subject:
Chamaeleonidae, fossils, genetic relationships, Africa, India
Abstract:
Miocene rare fossils from India, tentatively attributed to chameleons, are described for the first time. The material consists of a fragment of the left squamosal and an element interpreted as a posterodorsal process of the parietal. The specimens come from a late Miocene site of the Nagri Formation (Middle Siwaliks, ~ 9 Mya) at Haritalyangar, North India. This material presents a possible evidence for a chameleon dispersal to Asia. Based on molecular data, the dispersion of an Asian chamaeleonid lineage from Africa to Arabia/Asia is dated at approximately 13 Mya and its diversification in situ at around 6–8 Mya. However, till now, no Miocene-age fossil record has been described to support crown chamaeleonid presence in this area. The material described herein is very fragmented. If correctly allocated, the Haritalyangar chameleons show the oldest known occurrence of this clade in India, at least approximately 9 Mya ago.
Agid:
5562715