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For most of the , India was part of , wedged between and in the west, and in the east (the northern edge forming part of the litoral). In the , circa 115 , broke free from the the rest of Gondwanaland - only in the , circa 88 Ma, did Indo-Madagascar itself break apart. India then set off north at a remarkable clip, hitting Eurasia in the around 55-50 Ma, causing the uplift of the .
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Between the separation around 88 Ma from Madagascar and the final collision with Asia around 55-50 Ma, ie., for a timespan of 35 million years India was essentially an island continent. However, it is claimed by some that it may have remained in (intermittent?) contact with East Gondwana through the to as late as 80 Ma and it is not clear when first contact with Asia was established through island arcs between India and Asia that later were compressed into the Himalayas during the collision.
During its tenure as an isolated island continent, India suffered an episode of , emplacing the . Like the even greater , the Deccan Traps are associated with a mass extinction event - the , famous for having spelt the end of the non-avian - but the current consensus is that the Traps were not primary cause of the extinction, that distinction going to the asteroidal body that hit the Earth at 65 Ma, excavating the crater.
The Deccan Traps have been studied quite extensively and this has brought to light interesting palaeontological information. Prasad and Sahni (2009) describe biota of the late Creataceous that show affinities with both Gondwana and Asia. The Gondwana legacy comprises leptodactylid, hylid and ranoid , madtsoiid and nigerophiid , pelomedusoid , "mesosuchian" , , and . There are even real Gondwanan relicts like . On the other hand there are also taxa of Laurasian affinities such as pelobatid and gobiatine frogs, , mammals and . The latter may point at dispersal of biota across the Kohistan and Dras island-arcs and the Trans-Himalayan magmatic arc, but other interpretations cannot be excluded.
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Prasad, Guntupalli V. R. and Sahni, Ashok; (2009) Late Cretaceous continental vertebrate fossil record from India: Palaeobiogeographical insights. Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de France; v. 180; no. 4; p. 369-381;