The first darter (Aves: Anhingidae) fossils from India (late Pliocene)


New fossils from the latest Pliocene portion of the Tatrot Formation exposed in the Siwalik Hills of northern India represent the first fossil record of a darter (Anhingidae) from India. The darter fossils possibly represent a new species, but the limited information on the fossil record of this group restricts their taxonomic allocation. The Pliocene darter has a deep pit on the distal face of metatarsal trochlea IV not reported in other anhingids, it has an open groove for the m. flexor perforatus et perforans digiti II tendon on the hypotarsus unlike New World anhingid taxa, and these darter specimens are the youngest of the handful of Neogene records of the group from Asia. These fossil specimens begin to fill in a significant geographic and temporal gap in the fossil record of this group that is largely known from other continents and other time periods. The presence of a darter and pelican (along with crabs, fish, turtles, and crocodilians) in the same fossil-bearing horizon strongly indicates the past presence of a substantial water body (large pond, lake, or river) in the interior of northern India in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177129

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@inproceedings{Stidham2017TheFD, title={The first darter (Aves: Anhingidae) fossils from India (late Pliocene)}, author={Thomas Stidham and Rajeev Patnaik and Kewal Krishan and Bahadur Singh and Abhik Ghosh and Ankita Singla and Simran S Kotla}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2017} }