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.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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).
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. (PDF 9034 kb)
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Zheng, X., Bi, S., Wang, X. et al. A new arboreal haramiyid shows the diversity of crown mammals in the Jurassic period. Nature 500, 199–202 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature12353
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