Breakup of Pangaea and Isolation of Relict Mammals in Australia, South America, and Madagascar

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Science  25 Feb 1972:
Vol. 175, Issue 4024, pp. 894-898
DOI: 10.1126/science.175.4024.894


The composition of aboriginal land mammal faunas in Australia and New Guinea (prototherians and metatherians), South America (metatherians and eutherians) and Madagascar (eutherians only) is reconsidered in light of continental drift reconstructions of Mesozoic-Tertiary world paleogeography It is proposed that these three faunas represent successively detached samples of the evolving world mammal fauna as it existed when each of these land masses became faunally isolated from the rest of the world as a result of the progressive fragmentation of Pangaea. Isolation of aboriginal prototherians and metatherians in Australia and New Guinea may date from the Upper JurassicLower Cretaceous; isolation of aboriginal metatherians and eutherians in South America may date from the Middle Cretaceous-Upper Cretaceous; isolation of aboriginal eutherians in Madagascar may date from the Paleocene-Eocene.