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Haramiyids and Triassic mammalian evolution

Naturevolume 385pages715718 (1997) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Isolated teeth referred to the family Haramiyidae are among the earliest known fossil evidence of mammals. First discovered in European Late Triassic deposits a century and a half ago1, har-amiyids have been interpreted as related to multituberculates2–7, a diverse and widespread lineage that occupied a rodent-like niche from the Late Jurassic to the Early Tertiary. Nonetheless, haramiyid relationships have remained enigmatic8,9 because the orientation and position of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw could not be determined with certainty; even their mammalian status has been questioned10. The discovery of haramiyid dentaries, a maxilla and other skeletal remains in the Upper Triassic of East Greenland reveals haramiyids as highly specialized mammals with a novel pattern of puncture-crushing occlusion that differs dramatically from the grinding or shearing mechanisms of other Early Mesozoic mammals.

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Affiliations

  1. Department ofOrganismic and Evolutionary Biology, and Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138, USA

    • Farish A. Jenkins Jr
    •  & William W. Amaral
  2. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 02912, USA

    • Stephen M. Gatesy
  3. Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104, USA

    • Neil H. Shubin

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https://doi.org/10.1038/385715a0

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