Alphadon

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Alphadon
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
Alphadon sp. - MUSE.jpg
Reconstruction of Alphadon sp.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Family: Alphadontidae
Genus: Alphadon
Simpson, 1927
Species[1]
  • A. marshi (type)
    Simpson, 1927
  • A. wilsoni
    Lillegraven, 1969
  • A. halleyi
    Sahni, 1972
  • A. attaragos
    Lillegraven & McKenna, 1986
  • A. sahnii
    Lillegraven & McKenna, 1986
  • A. clemensi
    Eaton, 1993
  • A. lillegraveni
    Eaton, 1993
  • A. perexiguus
    Cifelli, 1994
  • A. eatoni
    Cifelli & Muizon, 1998

Alphadon (meaning "first tooth")[2] was a genus of small, primitive mammal that was a member of the metatherians, a group of mammals that includes modern-day marsupials. Its fossils were first discovered and named by George Gaylord Simpson in 1929.[1]

Description[edit]

Not much is known about the appearance of Alphadon, as it is only known from teeth. It probably grew to about 12 in (30 cm) and may have resembled a modern opossum.[3] Judging from its teeth, it was likely an omnivore, feeding on fruits, invertebrates and possibly small vertebrates.[2]

Taxonomy and classification[edit]

The type species is Alphadon marshi.[2] Eight other species are known.[1]

The species Alphadon jasoni was originally described by Storer (1991); it was subsequently transferred to the herpetotheriid genus Nortedelphys.[4]

Recent phylogenetic studies group it with other northern non-marsupial metatherians such as Albertatherium and Turgidodon.[5][6] A 2016 phylogenetic analysis is shown below.[7]


Marsupialiformes


Gurlin Tsav skull




Borhyaenidae




Mayulestes




Jaskhadelphys




Andinodelphys



Pucadelphys









Asiatherium





Iugomortiferum



Kokopellia




Aenigmadelphys



Anchistodelphys



Glasbiidae

Glasbius


Pediomyidae

Pediomys



Stagodontidae

Pariadens




Eodelphis



Didelphodon




Alphadontidae

Turgidodon



Alphadon



Albertatherium




Marsupialia






References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Haaramo, Mikko (August 2003). "Alphadontidae". Mikko's Phylogeny Archive. 
  2. ^ a b c "Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary". Enchanted Learning. 2010. 
  3. ^ Jehle, Martin (August 2005). "Marsupials: A southern success story". Paleocene mammals of the world. 
  4. ^ Thomas E. Williamson; Stephen L. Brusatte; Thomas D. Carr; Anne Weil; Barbara R. Standhardt (2012). "The phylogeny and evolution of Cretaceous–Palaeogene metatherians: cladistic analysis and description of new early Palaeocene specimens from the Nacimiento Formation, New Mexico". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 10 (4): 625–651. doi:10.1080/14772019.2011.631592. 
  5. ^ Guillermo W. Rougier; Brian M. Davis; Michael J. Novacek (2015). "A deltatheroidan mammal from the Upper Cretaceous Baynshiree Formation, eastern Mongolia". Cretaceous Research. 52, Part A: 167–177. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2014.09.009.
  6. ^ S. Bi, X. Jin, S. Li and T. Du. 2015. A new Cretaceous metatherian mammal from Henan, China. PeerJ 3:e896
  7. ^ Wilson, G.P.; Ekdale, E.G.; Hoganson, J.W.; Calede, J.J.; Linden, A.V. (2016). "A large carnivorous mammal from the Late Cretaceous and the North American origin of marsupials". Nature Communications. 7. doi:10.1038/ncomms13734.