A Tribosphenic Mammal from the Mesozoic of Australia

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Science  21 Nov 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5342, pp. 1438-1442
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5342.1438

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A small, well-preserved dentary of a tribosphenic mammal with the most posterior premolar and all three molars in place has been found in Aptian (Early Cretaceous) rocks of southeastern Australia. In most respects, dental and mandibular anatomy of the specimen is similar to that of primitive placental mammals. With the possible exception of a single tooth reported as Eocene in age, terrestrial placentals are otherwise unknown in Australia until the Pliocene. This possible Australian placental is similar in age to Prokennalestesfrom the late Aptian/early Albian Khoboor Beds of Mongolia, the oldest currently accepted member of the infraclass Placentalia.

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