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, 308 (5718), 103-7

A Late Jurassic Digging Mammal and Early Mammalian Diversification

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A Late Jurassic Digging Mammal and Early Mammalian Diversification

Zhe-Xi Luo et al. Science.

Abstract

A fossil mammal from the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation, Colorado, has highly specialized teeth similar to those of xenarthran and tubulidentate placental mammals and different from the generalized insectivorous or omnivorous dentitions of other Jurassic mammals. It has many forelimb features specialized for digging, and its lumbar vertebrae show xenarthrous articulations. Parsimony analysis suggests that this fossil represents a separate basal mammalian lineage with some dental and vertebral convergences to those of modern xenarthran placentals, and reveals a previously unknown ecomorph of early mammals.

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