Chapter

Anthropoid Origins

Part of the series Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects pp 249-282

Eocene Large-Bodied Primates of Myanmar and Thailand: Morphological Considerations and Phylogenetic Affinities

  • Russell L. CiochonAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, The University of Iowa
  • , Gregg F. GunnellAffiliated withMuseum of Paleontology, University of Michigan

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Abstract

Primates have been known from Eocene deposits in southern Asia since 1927 (Pilgrim, 1927). Three relatively large-bodied taxa, Pondaungia, Arnphipithecus, and Siamopithecus, the first two from Myanmar and the latter from Thailand, have played leading roles in discussions of the importance of Asian primates to the origin of anthropoids. All of these taxa traditionally have been viewed as anthropoids (Ba Maw et al., 1979; Chaimanee et al., 1997; Ciochon and Holroyd, 1994; Ciochon et al., 1985; Ducrocq, 1999a; Jaeger et al., 1998), or at least as potential anthropoid sister taxa, although these interpretations have not been universally accepted (see Ciochon and Gunnell, 2000a,b for reviews of the history of Pondaung large-bodied primates). In this chapter, we reexamine all of the dental, cranial, and postcranial evidence available for these primates (see Table 1), briefly review current ideas on their phylogenetic affinities, and then offer our own interpretation as to their relationships.
Table 1.

Pondaung large-bodied primates from Myanmar

Specimen

Genus/Species

Description

Village

Kyitchaung

GSI D201

P. cotteri (holotype)

L dent. M2–3

Pangan

Pangan Roadcut (= PGN1)

GSI D202

P. cotteri (holotype)

R dent. M3

Pangan

Pangan Roadcut (= PGN1)

GSI D203

P. cotteri (holotype)

L max. M2–3

Pangan

Pangan Roadcut (= PGN1)

AMNH 32520

A. mogaungensis (holotype)

L dent. P3—M1

Mogaung

Thandaung

NMMP 1 (=DGMU-P4, UCMP 120377)

P. savagei (holotype)

R dent. M2–3

Mogaung

Lema

NMMP 2 (=DGMU-P1)

A. mogaungensis

L dent. M1–2

Mogaung

Thandaung

NMMP 3 (=DGMU-P2)

P. savagei (part of holotype?)

L dent. M2–3

Mogaung

Lema

NMMP 4 (=DGMU-P3)

P. cotteri (holotype of “P. minuta”)

R dent. M1–3

Mogaung

Lema

NMMP 5

P. savagei

R dent. M2–3

Mogaung

Lema

NMMP 6

A. mogaungensis

L dent. M1–2

Mogaung

Thandaung

NMMP 7

A. mogaungensis

L & R dents.

Bahin

Yarshe

NMMP 12 (NMMP-NMMP-KU 0003)

P. savagei

L max. I1, C1, P3, M2, frags. of P4, M1, M3

Pangan

Taungnigyin (= PGN2)

NMMP 17

P. savagei

R. dent P2—M3

Mogaung

Thandaung

NMMP 18 (NMMP-NMMP-KU 0228)

A. mogaungensis

R max. P4—M3

Paukkaung

Paukkaung (= Pk2)

NMMP 19 (NMMP-NMMP-KU 0229)

Amphipithecus?

Frontal (assoc? w/NMMP 18)

Paukkaung

Paukkaung (= Pk2)

NMMP 20

Pondaungia sp.

partial skeleton

Paukkaung

Sabapondaung (= Pk1)

NMMP 22

P. cotteri?

R P4

Mogaung

Lema

NMMP 24

P. savagei

R dent. C1—M3

Paukkaung

Paukkaung (= Pk2)

NMMP 25

P. savagei

L dent. M1

Mogaung

Lema

NMMP 27

Amphipithecus?

Frontal

Sinzwe

Payama (= PA1)

Abbreviations: AMNH = American Museum of Natural History, New York (U.S.A.); DGMU-P= Department of Geology, Mandalay University-Primate, Mandalay (Myanmar); GSI = Geological Survey of India, Calcutt a (India); NMMP = National Museum of Myanmar.

Primate, Yangon (Myanmar); NMMP-KU = National Museum of Myanmar Primate—Kyoto University, Yangon (Myanmar). Abbreviations in paren theses in the kyitchaung column were developed by the Japanese team as shortened locality names (see Shigehara, 2000).