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Fossils of Cynodonts found in Tiki Formation

Context:

The Tiki Formation in Madhya Pradesh, a treasure trove of vertebrate fossils, has now yielded a new species and two genera of cynodonts, small rat-like animals that lived about 220 million years ago.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-I: Geography (Geomorphology, Origin & Evolution of Earth)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Tiki Formation
  2. New Species found: The Study and significance of Cynodonts

Tiki Formation

  • The Tiki Formation is a Late Triassic (Carnian to Norian) geologic formation in Madhya Pradesh, northern India.
  • Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the formation, although none have yet been referred to a specific genus.
  • Phytosaur remains attributable to the genus Volcanosuchus have also been found in the Tiki Formation.
  • The genera Tikiodon, Tikitherium and Tikisuchus and species Rewaconodon tikiensis, Hyperodapedon tikiensis and Parvodus tikiensis have been named after the Tiki Formation.
  • The majority of the Tiki Formation correlates with the Ischigualasto Formation of Argentina, the upper part of the Santa Maria Formation, and the overlying lower Caturrita Formation of Brazil, the Isalo II Beds of Madagascar, Lossiemouth Sandstone of Scotland, and the lower Tecovas Formation of the Chinle Group of North America.

New Species found: The Study and significance of Cynodonts

  • The researchers used scanning electron microscopy to study teeth samples and the results showed that they had found a new species, and they named it Rewaconodon indicus, indicating India, the country it was discovered from.
  • The team also identified two new genera from the area. The first was named Inditherium floris and the second was named Tikiodon cromptoni.
  • Cynodonts are important in evolutionary studies as this group ultimately gave rise to the present-day mammals.
  • By studying their molar and premolar teeth, we see how they slowly evolved and modified. Their crown shape shows that these animals are actually intermediate forms that are very near to the mammalian line of evolution.
  • The close relationship of cynodonts with living mammals is seen in their bones. They also have differentiated teeth a secondary palate in their mouths, which, like humans, allowed them to breathe and eat at the same time.

-Source: The Hindu

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October 2022
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