THE AGE OF NASKAL, THE TYPE LOCALITY OF INDIA’S FIRST KNOWN CRETACEOUS MAMMAL
Naskal accounts for nearly half of published mammal records from DVTP-associated sediments, as well as a host of other microfossils. The age of the Naskal locality takes on singular importance in the context of mammalian evolution in India and the effects of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction and subsequent evolutionary radiation. Here we present evidence from 40Ar/39Ar geochronology, magnetostratigraphy, and chemostratigraphy of the over- and underlying basalt flows to narrow the permissible age of the sediments at the Naskal locality. In conjunction with palynostratigraphy and vertebrate biostratigraphy, this site can be confidently restricted to a <100 ka interval spanning the KPB. The most probable 40Ar/39Ar age is latest Cretaceous, but an earliest Paleogene age cannot be ruled out. We explore the implications of this age assignment, and additionally describe two new mammal species from the same genus from Naskal.