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A mammal-like reptile from Australia


New fossil evidence indicates that a mammal-like reptile inhabited Australia in the early part of the Triassic period (220 Myr ago). There are no previous reports of mammal-like reptiles from this continent, and the earliest known Australian mammals have been dated as no older than Oligocene (23 Myr)1,2. The evidence is an isolated quadrate bone, recently discovered in Lower Triassic rocks of the Arcadia Formation, south-east Queensland. This bone has morphological peculiarities matched only in dicynodonts (mammal-like reptiles of the infraorder Dicynodontia, order Therapsida) and was probably derived from an animal similar or identical to the common African dicynodont Kannemeyeria.

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Thulborn, R. A mammal-like reptile from Australia. Nature 303, 330–331 (1983).

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