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Nature. 2011 Aug 24;476(7361):442-5. doi: 10.1038/nature10291.

A Jurassic eutherian mammal and divergence of marsupials and placentals.

Author information

1
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA. luoz@carnegiemnh.org

Abstract

Placentals are the most abundant mammals that have diversified into every niche for vertebrates and dominated the world's terrestrial biotas in the Cenozoic. A critical event in mammalian history is the divergence of eutherians, the clade inclusive of all living placentals, from the metatherian-marsupial clade. Here we report the discovery of a new eutherian of 160 Myr from the Jurassic of China, which extends the first appearance of the eutherian-placental clade by about 35 Myr from the previous record, reducing and resolving a discrepancy between the previous fossil record and the molecular estimate for the placental-marsupial divergence. This mammal has scansorial forelimb features, and provides the ancestral condition for dental and other anatomical features of eutherians.

PMID:
21866158
DOI:
10.1038/nature10291
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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