, Volume 97, Issue 4, pp 417–422 | Cite as

Euarchontan affinity of Paleocene Afro-European adapisoriculid mammals and their origin in the late Cretaceous Deccan Traps of India

  • Thierry SmithEmail author
  • Eric De Bast
  • Bernard Sigé
Short Communication


The controversial family Adapisoriculidae, a group of shrew-sized Paleocene mammals, had proposed relationships with insectivores, marsupials and more recently to plesiadapiforms. Adapisoriculid remains are numerous in the early Paleocene locality of Hainin, Belgium, and allow us a test of these different phylogenetic hypotheses. Here, we identify the first tarsal bones of adapisoriculid mammals. The highly specialised bones indicate an arboreal mode of life with euarchontan affinity. Moreover, the tarsal bones are morphologically very close to those of the late Cretaceous Deccanolestes from the Deccan intertrappean beds of India, and also share several characters with the Paleocene plesiadapiforms and the extant cynocephalid dermopterans. The adapisoriculid affinities of Deccanolestes are also confirmed by tooth morphology, indicating that Deccanolestes is a primitive member of this family. These phylogenetic affinities suggest a paleobiogeographic scenario for the family with dispersal either via East Africa or across the Tethys area.


Adapisoriculidae Deccanolestes Euarchonta Mammalia Paleocene Belgium 



We thank Bernard Marandat (USTL, Montpellier) for the preparation of the Hainin specimens, Georges Lenglet (RBINS, Brussels) for giving access to comparative material of Galeopterus and Pieter Missiaen (UG, Ghent) for constructive comments on the manuscript. At the RBINS, Annelise Folie coordinated the management of the Hainin collection, Julien Cillis produced the SEM photographs and Claude Desmedt drew the map. This paper is a contribution to project MO/36/020 financially supported by the Federal Science Policy Office of Belgium.

Supplementary material

114_2010_651_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (216 kb)
S1 Association of dental and tarsal specimens of adapisoriculids (PDF 215 kb)
114_2010_651_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (6 kb)
S2 Measurements and body mass of Bustylus marandati (PDF 6 kb)
114_2010_651_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (1.2 mb)
S3 Teilhardina belgica footbones (PDF 1178 kb)
114_2010_651_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (41 kb)
S4 Marcgodinotius indicus footbones (PDF 40 kb)
114_2010_651_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (147 kb)
S5 Tupaia sp. footbones (PDF 147 kb)
114_2010_651_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (169 kb)
S6 Cryptotopos? sp. (Nyctitheriidae) footbones (PDF 168 kb)
114_2010_651_MOESM7_ESM.pdf (171 kb)
S7 Plesiadapis tricuspidens footbones (PDF 170 kb)
114_2010_651_MOESM8_ESM.pdf (15 kb)
S8 Ignacius clarkforkiensis footbones (PDF 15 kb)
114_2010_651_MOESM9_ESM.pdf (70 kb)
S9 Mixodectes malaris footbones (PDF 70 kb)
114_2010_651_MOESM10_ESM.pdf (28 kb)
S10 Cynocephalus volans footbones (PDF 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PalaeontologyRoyal Belgian Institute of Natural SciencesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Université Claude Bernard–Lyon 1Villeurbanne CedexFrance

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