Skip to main content Accessibility help

Faunal interchange and Miocene terrestrial vertebrates of southern Asia

  • John C. Barry (a1), Michele E. Morgan (a1), Alisa J. Winkler (a2), Lawrence J. Flynn (a1), Everett H. Lindsay (a3), Louis L. Jacobs (a2) and David Pilbeam (a1)...


Problems of stratigraphic completeness and poor temporal resolution make analysis of faunal change in terrestrial sequences difficult. The fluvial Neogene Siwalik formations of India and Pakistan are an exception. They contain a long vertebrate record and have good chronostratigraphic control, making it possible to assess the influence of biotic interchange on Siwalik fossil communities. In Pakistan, the interval between 18 and 7 Ma has been most intensively studied and changes in diversity and relative abundance of ruminant artiodactyls and muroid rodents are documented with temporal resolution of 200,000 years. Within this interval, diversity varies considerably, including an abrupt rise in species number between 15 and 13 Ma, followed by a decline in ruminant diversity after 12 Ma and a decline in muroid diversity in two steps at 13 and 10 Ma. Significant changes in relative abundance of taxa include an increase in bovids between 16.5 and 15 Ma, a decrease in tragulids after 9 Ma, and a very abrupt increase in murids at 12 Ma. Megacricetodontine rodents also decrease significantly at 12 Ma, and smaller declines are recorded among myocricetodontine and copemyine rodents after 16 Ma. An increase of dendromurine rodents at 15.5 Ma is also observed. There is also a trend of progressive size increase among giraffoids and bovids throughout the sequence.

We have also investigated relationships between biotic interchange and diversity, body size, and relative abundance, concluding that (1) the rapid increase in ruminant and muroid diversity was largely due to immigration, whereas in situ speciation had only a secondary role; (2) during intervals of increasing diversity, resident lineages did not have higher than average rates of in situ speciation; (3) during intervals with rising diversity, greater extinction did not accompany increased immigration; (4) during intervals with falling diversity, there may have been greater extinction in recently invading lineages; and (5) change in diversity was independent of changes in relative abundance and body size.



Hide All
Badgley, C. E. 1986a. Taphonomy of mammalian fossil remains from Siwalik rocks of Pakistan. Paleobiology 12:119142.
Badgley, C. E. 1986b. Counting individuals in mammalian fossil assemblages from fluvial environments. Palaios 1:328338.
Badgley, C. E. 1990. A statistical assessment of last appearances in the Eocene record of mammals. Geological Society of America, Special Paper 243:153167.
Badgley, C. E., and Gingerich, P. D.. 1988. Sampling and faunal turnover in early Eocene mammals. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 63:141157.
Barry, J. C., Flynn, L. J., and Pilbeam, D. R.. 1990. Faunal diversity and turnover in a Miocene terrestrial sequence. Pp. 381421. In Ross, R., and Allmon, W. (eds.), Causes of Evolution: a Paleontological Perspective. The University of Chicago Press; Chicago.
Barry, J. C., Johnson, N. M., Raza, S. M., and Jacobs, L. L.. 1985. Neogene mammalian faunal change in southern Asia: correlations with climatic, tectonic, and eustatic events. Geology 13:637640.
Behrensmeyer, A. K. 1987. Miocene fluvial facies and vertebrate taphonomy in northern Pakistan. Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists Special Publication 39:169176.
Behrensmeyer, A. K., Western, D., and Dechant Boaz, D. E.. 1979. New perspectives in vertebrate paleoecology from a Recent bone assemblage. Paleobiology 5:1221.
Berggren, W. A., Kent, D. V., Flynn, J. J., and Van Couvering, J. A.. 1985. Cenozoic geochronology. Geological Society of America Bulletin 96:14071418.
Bernor, R. L. 1983. Geochronology and zoogeographic relationships of Miocene Hominoidea. Pp. 2164. In Ciochon, R. L., and Corruccini, R. S. (eds.), New Interpretations of Ape and Human Ancestry. Plenum Press; New York.
Bernor, R. L. 1984. A zoogeographic theater and biochronologic play: the time/biofaces phenomena of Eurasian and African Miocene mammal provinces. Paléobiologie Continentale 14:121142.
Cerling, T. E., Bowman, J. R., and O'Neil, J. R.. 1988. An isotopic study of a fluvial-lacustrine sequence: the Plio-Pleistocene Koobi Fora sequence. East Africa. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 63:335356.
Connell, J. H. 1978. Diversity in tropical rain forests and coral reefs. Science 199:13021310.
Flynn, L. J., Jacobs, L. L., and Lindsay, E. H.. 1985. Problems in muroid phylogeny: relationship to other rodents and origin of major groups. Pp. 589616. In Luckett, W. P., and Hartenberger, J. L. (eds.), Evolutionary Relationships among Rodents: a Multi-Disciplinary Analysis. Plenum Press; New York.
Flynn, L. J., Jacobs, L. L., and Cheema, I. U.. 1986. Baluchimyinae, a new ctenodactyloid rodent subfamily from the Miocene of Baluchistan. American Museum Novitates 2841:158.
Gentry, A. H. 1982. Patterns of Neotropical plant species diversity. Evolutionary Biology 15:184.
Gentry, A. W. 1990. Ruminant artiodactyls of Pasalar, Turkey. Journal of Human Evolution 19:529550.
Hamilton, W. R. 1978. Fossil giraffes from the Miocene of Africa and a revision of the phylogeny of the Giraffoidea. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B 283:165229.
Huston, M. 1979. A general hypothesis of species diversity. The American Naturalist 113:81101.
Jacobs, L. L., Flynn, L. J., Downs, W. R., and Barry, J. C.. 1990. Quo vadis, Antemus? The Siwalik muroid record. Pp. 573586. In Lindsay, E. H., Fahlbusch, V., and Mein, P. (eds.), European Neogene Mammal Chronology. Plenum Press; New York.
Janis, C. M., and Scott, K. M.. 1987. The interrelationships of higher ruminant families with special emphasis on the members of the Cervoidea. American Museum Novitates 2893:185.
Johnson, G. D., Zeitler, P., Naeser, C. W., Johnson, N. M., Summers, D. M., Frost, C. D., Opdyke, N. D., and Tahirkheli, R.A.K.. 1982. The occurrence and fission-track ages of late Neogene and Quaternary volcanic sediments, Siwalik Group, northern Pakistan. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 37:6393.
Johnson, N. M., Opdyke, N. D., Johnson, G. D., Lindsay, E. H., and Tahirkheli, R.A.K.. 1982. Magnetic polarity stratigraphy and ages of Siwalik Group rocks of the Potwar Plateau, Pakistan. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 37:1742.
Johnson, N. M., Stix, J., Tauxe, L., Cerveny, P. F., and Tahirkheli, R.A.K.. 1985. Paleomagnetic chronology, fluvial processes and tectonic implications of the Siwalik deposits near Chinji Village, Pakistan. Journal of Geology 93:2740.
Kappelman, J. W. 1986. The paleoecology and chronology of the middle Miocene hominoids from the Chinji Formation of Pakistan. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Lindsay, E. H. 1988. Cricetid rodents from Siwalik deposits near Chinji village. Part 1: Megacricetodontines, Myocricetodontines, Dendromurines. Palaeovertebrata 18:95154.
Mankinen, E. A., and Dalrymple, G. B.. 1979. Revised geomagnetic polarity time scale for the interval 0–5 m.y. B.P. Journal of Geophysical Research 84:615626.
Opdyke, N. D., Lindsay, E., Johnson, G. D., Johnson, N., Tahirkheli, R.A.K., and Mirza, M. A.. 1979. Magnetic polarity stratigraphy and vertebrate paleontology of the Upper Siwalik Subgroup of northern Pakistan. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 27:134.
Pickford, M. 1981. Preliminary Miocene mammalian biostratigraphy for western Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 10:7397.
Pickford, M. 1987. The age(s) of the Bugti fauna(s), Pakistan. Pp. 937955. In Whyte, P., Aigner, J. S., Jablonski, N. G., Taylor, G., Walker, D., Pinxian, Wang, and So, Chak-lam (eds.), The Palaeoenvironment of East Asia from the mid-Tertiary. Centre of Asian Studies Occasional Papers and Monographs No. 77. Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong; Hong Kong.
Pickford, M., and Rogers, D.. 1987. Révision des Suiformes de Bugti, Pakistan. Comptes Rendus des séances de l'Académie des Sciences, Paris, Series II 305:643646.
Pilgrim, G. E. 1913. The correlation of the Siwaliks with mammal horizons of Europe. Records of the Geological Survey of India 43:264326.
Prakash, U. 1973. Palaeoenvironmental analysis of Indian Tertiary floras. Geophytology 2:178205.
Quade, J., Cerling, T. E., and Bowman, J. R.. 1989. Development of Asian monsoon revealed by marked ecological shift during the latest Miocene in northern Pakistan. Nature 342:163166.
Raza, S. M., Barry, J. C., Meyer, G. E., and Martin, L.. 1984. Preliminary report on the geology and vertebrate fauna of the Miocene Manchar Formation, Sind, Pakistan. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 4:584599.
Richards, P. W. 1966. The Tropical Rain Forest. Cambridge University Press; Cambridge.
Ricklefs, R. E. 1989. Speciation and diversity: the integration of local and regional processes. Pp. 599622. In Otte, D., and Endler, J. A. (eds.), Speciation and Its Consequences. Sinauer Associates; Sunderland, Massachusetts.
Scott, K. M. 1985. Allometric trends and locomotor adaptations in the Bovidae. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 179:197288.
Sepkoski, J. J. 1988. Alpha, beta, or gamma: where does all the diversity go? Paleobiology 14:221234.
Stanley, S. M., Wetmore, K. L., and Kennett, J. P.. 1988. Macroevolutionary differences between the two major clades of Neogene planktonic foraminifera. Paleobiology 14:235249.
Tauxe, L., and Opdyke, N. D.. 1982. A time framework based on magnetostratigraphy for the Siwalik sediments of the Khaur area, northern Pakistan. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 37:4361.
Thomas, H. 1984a. Les Bovidés anté-hipparions des Siwaliks inférieurs (plateau du Potwar, Pakistan). Mémoires de la Société Géologique de France 145:168.
Thomas, H. 1984b. Les Bovidae (Artiodactyla: Mammalia) du miocène du sous-continent indien, de la péninsule arabique et de l'Afrique: biostratigraphie, biogéographie et écologie. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 45:251299.
Thomas, H. 1984c. Les Giraffoidea et les Bovidae miocènes de la Formation Nyakach (Rift Nyanza, Kenya). Palaeontographica A 183:6489.
Thomas, H. 1985. The early and middle Miocene land connection of the Afro-Arabian plate and Asia: a major event for hominoid dispersal? Pp. 4250. In Delson, E. (ed.), Ancestors: the Hard Evidence. Alan R. Liss; New York.
Valentine, J. W. 1984. Neogene marine climate trends: implications for biogeography and evolution of the shallow-sea biota. Geology 12:647650.
Vishnu-Mittre, . 1984. Floristic change in the Himalaya (southern slopes) and Siwaliks from the mid-Tertiary to Recent times. Pp. 483503. In Whyte, R. O. (ed.), The Evolution of the East Asian Environment. Centre of Asian Studies Occasional Papers and Monographs No. 59. Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong; Hong Kong.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0094-8373
  • EISSN: 1938-5331
  • URL: /core/journals/paleobiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed