JOURNAL ARTICLE

Earliest evolution of multituberculate mammals revealed by a new Jurassic fossil

Chong-Xi Yuan, Qiang Ji, Qing-Jin Meng, Alan R Tabrum, Zhe-Xi Luo
Science 2013 August 16, 341 (6147): 779-83
23950536
Multituberculates were successful herbivorous mammals and were more diverse and numerically abundant than any other mammal groups in Mesozoic ecosystems. The clade also developed diverse locomotor adaptations in the Cretaceous and Paleogene. We report a new fossil skeleton from the Late Jurassic of China that belongs to the basalmost multituberculate family. Dental features of this new Jurassic multituberculate show omnivorous adaptation, and its well-preserved skeleton sheds light on ancestral skeletal features of all multituberculates, especially the highly mobile joints of the ankle, crucial for later evolutionary success of multituberculates in the Cretaceous and Paleogene.

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