Logo of pnasPNASInfo for AuthorsSubscriptionsAboutThis Article
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Nov 7; 92(23): 10718–10722.

The hypocone as a key innovation in mammalian evolution.


The hypocone, a cusp added to the primitively triangular upper molar teeth of therian mammals, has evolved convergently > 20 times among mammals during the Cenozoic. Acquisition of the hypocone itself involves little phenotypic change, but subsequent diversification of groups possessing the hypocone may be greatly enhanced. Our analysis of the Cenozoic mammalian radiations, including the Recent fauna, shows that high species diversity of mammals with hypocones and association of the hypocone with herbivory strongly support recognition of the hypocone as a key innovation that has allowed invasion of, and diversification within, herbivorous adaptive zones. In contrast, mammals lacking hypocones show no marked increase in species diversity during the Cenozoic.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.4M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Nee S, Harvey PH. Getting to the roots of flowering plant diversity. Science. 1994 Jun 10;264(5165):1549–1550. [PubMed]
  • Sanderson MJ, Donoghue MJ. Shifts in diversification rate with the origin of angiosperms. Science. 1994 Jun 10;264(5165):1590–1593. [PubMed]
  • Labandeira CC, Sepkoski JJ., Jr Insect diversity in the fossil record. Science. 1993 Jul 16;261(5119):310–315. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America are provided here courtesy of National Academy of Sciences


Save items

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...