Nature Publishing Group, publisher of Nature, and other science journals and reference works
my account e-alerts subscribe register
Monday 25 September 2017
Journal Home
Current Issue
Download PDF
Export citation
Export references
Send to a friend
More articles like this

Letters to Nature
Nature 377, 418 - 420 (05 October 2002); doi:10.1038/377418a0

A new family of monotremes feom the Creataceous of Australia

Timothy F. Flannery*, Michael Archer, Thomas H. Rich & Robert Jones*

*Australian Museum, 6-8 College Street, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia
School of Biological Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
Museum of Victoria, 326 Swanston Street, South Melbourne 3205, Australia

AUSTRALIA'S second Mesozoic mammal, Kollikodon ritchiei (Monotremata, Kollikodontidae, new family) has an extreme bunodont molar morphology. The existence of two distinctively different families of monotremes in the Early Cretaceous suggests that the order originated long before the Cretaceous and was very diverse in at least the Australian portion of eastern Gondwana. With four families now known from Australia, it is probable that monotremes originated and diversified in the Australian/Antarctic sector of Gondwana, followed by a single dispersal (ornithorhyn-chid) to the South American sector before or during the early Paleocene. It is probable that kollikodontids are the sister-group of a steropodontid/ornithorhynchid/tachyglossid clade. K. ritchiei and Steropodon galmani are among the largest Mesozoic mammals known.



1. Murray, P. F. in Vertebrate Zoogeography and Evolution in Australasia (eds Archer, M. & Clayton, G.) 571−583 (Hesperian, Perth, 1984).
2. Woodburne, M. O. & Tedford, R. K. Am. Mus. Novit. 2588, 1−11 (1975).
3. Archer, M., Flannery, T. F., Ritchie, A. & Molnar, R. E. Nature 318, 363−366 (1985). | Article | ISI |
4. Archer, M., Murray, P., Hand, S. J. & Godthelp, K. in Mammal Phylogeny (eds Szalay, F., Novacek, M. & McKenna, M.) 75−94 (Springer, New York, 1993).
5. Archer, M., Jenkins, F. A. Jr, Hand, S. J., Murray, P. & Godthelp, K. in Platypus and Echidnas (ed. Augee, M.) 15−27 (Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Sydney, 1992).
6. Pascual, R. et al. Nature 356, 704−706 (1992). | Article | ISI |
7. Pascual, R. et al. in Platypus and Echidnas (ed. Augee, M.) 1−14 (Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Sydney, 1992).
8. Rich, T. K., Flannery, T. F. & Archer, M. Alcheringa 13, 85−88 (1989).
9. Rich, T. K. et al. in Vertebrate Palaeontology of Australasia (eds Vickers-Rich, P., Monaghan, J. F., Baird, R. F. & Rich, T. K.) 1005−1058 (Pioneer Design Studio, Melbourne, 1991).
10. Jenkins, F. A. Jr Neth. Zool. 4, 5−31 (1990).
11. Lillegraven, J. A., Kielan-Jaworowska, Z. & Clemens, W. A. (eds) Mesozoic Mammals: The First Two-Thirds of Mammalian History (Univ. California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1979).
12. Simpson, G. G. Am. Mus. Novit. 390 (1929).
13. McKenna, M. C. in Phylogeny of the Primates: a Multidisciplinary Approach (eds Luckett, W. P. & Szalay, F. S.) 21−46 (Plenum, New York, 1975).
14. Every, R. G. A New Terminology for Mammalian Teeth Founded on the Phenomenon of Thegosis (Pegasus, Christchurch, 1972).
15. Westerman, M. & Edwards, D. in Platypus and Echidnas (ed. Augee, M.) 28−34 (Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Sydney, 1992).
16. Griffiths, M. Echidnas (Pergamon, Oxford, 1968).
17. Bonaparte, J. F. Nat. geogr. Res. 6, 63−93 (1990). | ISI |
18. Rich, T. K. & Rich, P. V. Nat. geogr. Res. 1, 15−53 (1989).

© 2002 Nature Publishing Group
Privacy Policy