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A new arboreal haramiyid shows the diversity of crown mammals in the Jurassic period

Nature volume 500, pages 199202 (08 August 2013) | Download Citation


  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 03 June 2015


A major unsolved problem in mammalian evolution is the origin of Allotheria, including Multituberculata and Haramiyida1,2,3,4,5. Multituberculates are the most diverse and best known Mesozoic era mammals and ecologically resemble rodents, but haramiyids are known mainly from isolated teeth, hampering our search for their phylogenetic relationships. Here we report a new haramiyid from the Jurassic period of China, which is, to our knowledge the largest reported so far. It has a novel dentition, a mandible resembling advanced multituberculates and postcranial features adapted for arboreal life. Our phylogenetic analysis places Haramiyida within crown Mammalia, suggesting the origin of crown Mammalia in the Late Triassic period and diversification in the Jurassic, which contrasts other estimated divergence times of crown Mammalia6,7,8. The new haramiyid reveals additional mammalian features of the group, helps to identify other haramiyids represented by isolated teeth, and shows again that, regardless of various phylogenetic scenarios, a complex pattern of evolution involving many convergences and/or reversals existed in Mesozoic mammals.

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We thank C. Zhao for illustrations, J. R. Wible for access to comparative specimens, W. Zhang for scanning electron microscope photography and T. Qiao for help with PAUP analyses. This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China 973 Program 2012CB821906, National Natural Science Foundation of China 41172016 and 41128002, and the Hundred Talents Programs of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Author information


  1. Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Linyi University, Shuangling Road, Linyi City, Shandong 276005, China

    • Xiaoting Zheng
    •  & Xiaoli Wang
  2. Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature, Pingyi, Shandong 273300, China

    • Xiaoting Zheng
    •  & Xiaoli Wang
  3. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China

    • Shundong Bi
    •  & Jin Meng
  4. Department of Biology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania 15705, USA

    • Shundong Bi
  5. Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West and 79th Street, New York, New York 10024, USA

    • Jin Meng


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X.Z., S.B. and J.M. designed the project. X.Z., S.B., X.W. and J.M. performed the research. S.B. and J.M. wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Shundong Bi or Jin Meng.

This published work and related nomenclatural acts have been registered at the ZooBank, the proposed online registration system for the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. The Life Science Identifiers (LSIDs) for this publication include: urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:9DF31F78-FBDC-4C1C-9E5F-B0D28FCB3FCA, urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:83079D68-7FF5-4AA6-B4EB-4BE518F31B7B (family), urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:9F912251-A221-4946-9CAC-D35932B45685( genus) and urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:CDA99CD4-D79D-4FED-8AF3-C5313BC986F0 (species).

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    Supplementary Information

    This file contains Supplementary Information parts A-K, including Supplementary Text, Supplementary Figures 1-11, Supplementary Tables 1-3, Supplementary Data and additional references – see contents pages for details.

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