Trituberculy and Polybuny

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IN all the speculations on the original type of the mammalian molar, beginning from Rütimeyer (1863), we find that a simple cusp or cone is, with perfectly logical reasoning, considered to be the primitive form from which all others are derived. The error, fatal in its consequences, consisted in the fact that all the teeth possessing such a simple form, whither recent or fossil, high or low in the system, have for a long time likewise been considered to be primitive; so that the only problem remaining to be solved, seemed to be to trace back the intermediate stages between the more or less complicated molars of recent mammalia and the “simple reptilian cone.”

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  1. 1

    P.Z.S. 1893, p. 198–199.

  2. 2

    H. F. Osborn, "The Rise of the Mammalia in North America", pp. 30–31. (Boston, 1893.)

  3. 3

    H. F. Osborn, "Fossil Mammals of the Upper Cretaceous Beds." (Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. v. 1893, pp. 311–330, pl. vii.–viii.)

  4. 4

    l.c. p. 320.

  5. 5

    Of their homologues, by the way, may be found traces in the molars of many existing mammals; see e.g. H. Winge, Om Pattedyrenes Tandskifte, 1882, Table III.

  6. 6

    H. F. Osborn, "Fossil Mammals of the Upper Cretaceous Beds." (Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. v. 1893, p. 322.)

  7. 7

    NATURE, May 3, 1894, pp. 67.

  8. 8

    "On the Fossil Mammalia from the Stonesfield Slate" (Quart. Journ. Micr. Science, vol. xxxv. 1894, pp. 425–23).

  9. 9

    P.Z.S., 1893, pp. 196–214.

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