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Temporal range: Maastrichtian-Paleocene
~68–56 Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cimolesta
Family: Cimolestidae
Marsh 1889
Genus: Cimolestes
Marsh 1889
Type species
Cimolestes incisus
Marsh 1889

Nyssodon Simpson 1927

Cimolestes ("Cretaceous robber")[1] is a genus of basal, non-placental eutherians. Fossils have been found in North America, where they first appeared during the Late Cretaceous; they died out at the start of the Paleocene.[2]

They were once considered to be marsupials, then primitive placental mammals, but now are considered to be members of the order Cimolesta (which was named after the genus), outside of placental mammals proper.[3] Before they were determined to be non-placental eutherians, the cimolestids were once considered the common ancestral group of the clades Carnivora and the extinct Creodonta.

Cimolestes in particular follows as the direct outgroup to Taeniodonta, indicating that the latter evolved from forms similar to it.[3]

Reassigned species[edit]

Three nominal species of Cimolestes, C. magnus, C. cerberoides, and C. propalaeoryctes, have been reassigned to their own genera, Altacreodus, Ambilestes, and Scollardius, respectively.[4]

Fossil distribution[edit]

Fossils of Cimolestes have been found in:[5]



  1. ^ Palmer, T.S. (1904). "Index Generum Mammalium: a List of the Genera and Families of Mammals". North American Fauna. 23: 189. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  2. ^ McKenna, M. C; S. K. Bell (1997). Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-11012-9.
  3. ^ a b Rook, D.L.; Hunter, J.P. (2013). "Rooting Around the Eutherian Family Tree: the Origin and Relations of the Taeniodonta". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 21: 1–17. doi:10.1007/s10914-013-9230-9.
  4. ^ Richard C. Fox (2015) A revision of the Late Cretaceous–Paleocene eutherian mammal Cimolestes Marsh, 1889. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (advance online publication) doi: 10.1139/cjes-2015-0113
  5. ^ Cimolestes at