Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Haramiyids and Triassic mammalian evolution


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. von Plieninger, W. H. T. Jh. Ver. vaterl. Naturk. Württ. 164–167 (1847).

  2. Marsh, O. C. Am. J. Sci. 33, 327–348 (1887).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Osborn, H. F. J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philad. 9, 186–265 (1888).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Gregory, W. K. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 27, 1–524 (1910).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Hahn, G. Palaeontographica A 133, 1–100 (1969).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Hahn, G. Palaeontographica A 142, 1–15 (1973).

    Google Scholar 

  7. Sigogneau-Russell, D. & Hahn, G. in In the Shadow of the Dinosaurs: Early Mesozoic Tetrapods (eds Eraser, N. C. & Sues, H.-D.) 197–213 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Simpson, G. G. A Catalogue of the Mesozoic Mammalia in the Geological Department of the British Museum (Oxford University Press, London, 1928).

    Google Scholar 

  9. Clemens, W. A. & Kielan-Jaworowska, Z. in Mesozoic Mammals, the First Two-thirds of Mammalian History (eds Lillegraven, J. A., Kielan-Jaworowska, Z. & Clemens, W. A.) 99–149 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1979).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Butler, P. M. & MacIntyre, G. T. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 345, 433–458 (1994).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Simpson, G. G. J. Paleont. 21, 497 (1947).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Jenkins, F. A. Jr et al. Meddr. Grønland, Geoscience 32, 1–25 (1994).

    Google Scholar 

  13. Clemens, W. A. Zitteliana 5, 51–92 (1980).

    Google Scholar 

  14. Sigogneau-Russell, D. Palaeontographica A 206, 137–198 (1989).

    Google Scholar 

  15. Parrington, F. R. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 116, 707–728 (1947).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Crompton, A. W. Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. 24, 397–437 (1974).

    Google Scholar 

  17. Hennig, E. N. Jahrb. Min., Geol., Paläont. 46, 181–267 (1922).

    Google Scholar 

  18. Mills, J. R. E. in Early Mammals (eds Kermack, D. M. & Kermack, K. A.) 29–63 (Academic, London, 1971).

    Google Scholar 

  19. Simmons, N. B. in Mammal Phylogeny: Mesozoic Differentiation, Multituberculates, Monotremes, Early Therians, and Marsupials (eds Szalay, F. S., Novacek, M. J. & McKenna, M. C.) 146–164 (Springer, New York, 1993).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  20. Hahn, G. Geol. Palaeontol. 12, 177–212 (1978).

    Google Scholar 

  21. Krause, D. W. & Hahn, G. J. Paleont. 64, 1051–1054 (1990).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Krause, D. W. Paleobiology 8, 265–281 (1982).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Hahn, G., Sigogneau-Russell, D. & Wouters, G. Geol. Palaeontol. 23, 205–215 (1989).

    Google Scholar 

  24. Jenkins, F. A. Jr & Parrington, F. R. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 273, 387–431 (1976).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  25. Kermack, D. M., Kermack, K. A. & Mussett, F. Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 47, 407–423 (1968).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Crompton, A. W. in Functional Morphology in Vertebrate Paleontology (ed. Thomason, J.) 55–75 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jenkins, F., Gatesy, S., Shubin, N. et al. Haramiyids and Triassic mammalian evolution. Nature 385, 715–718 (1997).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing