From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Cynodonts
Mains level : NA
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.
- The Tiki Formation is a Late Triassic geologic formation in Madhya Pradesh.
- 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.
Findings of the new study
- The fossil teeth were studied for size, crown shape, structure of the cusps and compared with previously reported cynodonts.
- 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.
- Cynodonts and living mammals both belong to a group of egg-laying vertebrates (amniotes) called synapsids.
- The close relationship of cynodonts with living mammals is seen in their bones.