Except for the few specimens previously reported from the late middle Eocene of North Africa (Algeria) and more recently from South Asia (Myanmar), the fossil record of anomaluroid rodents is relatively scarce for the Paleogene Period. In this paper, we describe new material, notably a skull, of the anomaluroid taxon Pondaungimys anomaluropsis Dawson et al., 2003, recently described from the latest middle Eocene Pondaung Formation in Central Myanmar (South Asia). Pondaungimys shows a dental pattern very similar to that of Nementchamys, an anomaluroid rodent previously reported from roughly coeval deposits in Algeria. Although Nementchamys and Pondaungimys have a dental pattern relatively more primitive in some respects than that of Miocene and modern anomalurids, in other respects they show a derived dental complexity that leads us to consider both taxa as the closest outgroups of the Anomaluridae sensu stricto (the true scaly-tailed flying squirrels) within the Anomaluroidea. Pondaungimys clearly demonstrates that the evolutionary history of the anomaluroid rodents is not limited to Africa. The widespread South Asian-North African distribution of the late middle Eocene forms strongly suggests that faunal exchanges between Africa and Asia took place during the Paleogene, a statement supported by other mammalian groups.
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