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Temporal range: Paleocene–Oligocene
Apatemys chardini
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Superorder: Euarchontoglires (?)
Order: Apatotheria
Scott & Jepsen, 1936
Family: Apatemyidae
Matthew, 1909

Apatemyidae is an extinct family of placental mammals that took part in the first placental evolutionary radiation together with other early mammals such as the leptictids. Their relationships to other mammal groups are controversial; a 2010 study found them to be basal members of Euarchontoglires.[3]

Common in North America during the Paleocene, they are also represented in Europe by the genus Jepsenella.[4]

Apatemyids in life[edit]

Like most Paleocene mammals, the apatemyds were small and presumably insectivorous. Size ranged from that of a dormouse to a large rat. The toes were slender and well clawed, and the family were probably mainly arboreal.[5] The skull was fairly massive compared to the otherwise slender skeleton, and the front teeth were long and hooked, resembling those of the modern aye-aye, both whom make their living by gnawing off bark with their front teeth to get at grubs and maggots beneath.[6]


  1. ^ Lopatin, A. V.; Averianov, A. O. (2021). "First Apatemyid Mammal from Central Asia". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. doi:10.1007/s10914-021-09574-5.
  2. ^ Solé, F.; De Bast, E.; Legendre, H.; Rana, R. S.; Kumar, K.; Rose, K. D.; Smith, T. (2020). "New Specimens of Frugivastodon (Mammalia: Apatotheria) from the Early Eocene of India Confirm Its Apatemyid Status and Elucidate Dispersal of Apatemyidae". Biological Consequences of Plate Tectonics: 279–304. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-49753-8_12.
  3. ^ Silcox, M. T.; Bloch, J. I.; Boyer, D. M.; Houde, P. (2010). "Cranial anatomy of Paleocene and Eocene Labidolemur kayi (Mammalia: Apatotheria), and the relationships of the Apatemyidae to other mammals". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 160 (4): 773–825. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2009.00614.x.
  4. ^ Agusti, J.; Anton, M. (2002). Mammoths, Sabertooths, and Hominids: 65 Million Years of Mammalian Evolution in Europe. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-11640-3.
  5. ^ von Koenigswald, W.; Storch, G., eds. (1998). Messel: ein Pompeji der Paläontologie. Sigmaringen: Thorbecke. ISBN 3-7995-9083-8.
  6. ^ v. Koenigswald, W.; Schierning, H.-P. (9 April 1987). "The ecological niche of an extinct group of mammals, the early Tertiary apatemyids". Nature. 326 (6113): 595–597. doi:10.1038/326595a0.

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