Temporal range: 145Ma
Kühne & Krusat, 1972
Haldanodon exspectatus is an extinct mammaliaform, specifically a docodont. It lived in the Upper Jurassic (Kimmeridgian, about 145 million years ago). Its fossil remains have been found in Portugal, in the famous field Guimarota.
The appearance of this animal, a little more than 15 inches in length, must have been quite similar to that of the current desman (genera Desmana and Galemys), small insectivores related to the moles. The body was compact, while the legs were short and robust; the articulation of the distal humerus was particularly expanded, indicating strong muscles. The first forepaw phalanges were short, while those terminals were curved and laterally compressed. The skull was equipped with roughness on the nasal bones, which suggest the presence of a shield of keratin. The 3-inch jaws were robust; in particular, the mandible was equipped with a highly developed coronoid process, which indicated the presence of very powerful jaw muscles.
The shape and arrangement of its indicate that this animal was a representative of docodonti, a group of primitive mammaliaformi, but specialized with regard to the teeth, who lived in the first part of the Mesozoic Era. The skeleton of Haldanodon is well known and has allowed a comparative study with that of other primitive mammaliaforms, such as the monotremes, Morganucodon and Hadrocodium. According to the results of these analyses, Haldanodon would be in a position evolutionary intermediate between Morganucodon and Hadrocodium.
Haldanodon was probably an insectivore. This is indicated by numerous skeletal features, such as the strong legs and specialized ends, the skull and the cephalic shield with eyes small and tight. The wide disparity in size in the long bones of the feet (such as the humerus and femur) may indicate that the Haldanodonte never ceased to grow in size throughout the life span, such as reptiles today. Its diet was likely small insects and lizards.
- Kühne & Krusat (1972), Legalisierung des taxon Haldonodon (Mammalia, Docodonta)
- Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie, Paläontologie and Mineralogie, Monatshefte 5, P.300-302
- Martin T (2005), postcranial anatomy of Haldanodon exspectatus (Mammalia, Docodonta) from the Late Jurassic (Kimmeridgian) of Portugal and Its bearing for mammalian evolution, Zoological Journal of the * Linnean Society, 145, p. 219-248
- Martin T & M Nowotny (2000), The docodont Haldanodon Guimarota from the mines, p. 91-96
- Martin T & Krebs B (eds), Guimarota - A Jurassic Ecosystem, Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, München