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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
Artistic reconstruction of Vincelestes.PNG
Artist's restoration
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
(unranked): Cladotheria
Family: Vincelestidae
Genus: Vincelestes
Species: V. neuquenianus
Binomial name
Vincelestes neuquenianus
Bonaparte, 1986

Vincelestes ("Vince’s thief") is an extinct genus of actively mobile mammal, that lived in what would be South America during the Early Cretaceous from 130—112 mya, existing for approximately 18 million years.[1]

Vincelestes neuquenianus is the only species known to date. Specimens were found at La Amarga Formation of southern Neuquén Province, Argentina. Only nine individuals were recovered from this site.

The back teeth of Vincelestes were similar to those of therians in that they were capable of cutting and grinding. This enabled them to process food more efficiently. Although not the direct ancestor of therians, Vincelestes is important because it gives us an idea of what the ancestor of both placental and marsupial mammals might have looked like, and also gives an indication of when these mammals may have originated.


  • Turner A. (2004). National Geographic Prehistoric Mammals. Firecrest Books Ltd., p 46
  • Kielan-Jaworowska Z., Cifelli R. & Luo Z. (2004). Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs: Origins, Evolution, and Structure. Columbia University Press, p 399.

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