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Temporal range: 60–55 Ma
Late Paleocene
Skeleton of Ernanodon antelios.jpg
Reconstructed skeleton at the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, Japan
Scientific classification
E. antelios

Ting, 1979 (type)
Binomial name
Ernanodon antelios

Ernanodon antelios is an extinct placental mammal from the late Paleocene of China.

It was a relatively small animal about 50 cm in length, not including the tail.[2] When it was first discovered and examined, it was thought to be a primitive anteater. E. antelios and Eurotamandua of Eocene Germany helped to support a now-abandoned hypothesis that there was movement between the faunas of South America (the homeland of anteaters and other Xenarthrans), and the faunas of Europe and Asia, by way of North America.[3] This was further supported by the alleged European Phorusrhacid Strigogyps, also of Eocene Germany.

The view of E. antelios being an anteater has been discarded, and the idea that there was any extensive Paleocene faunal interchange with South America has been rethought due to Eurotamandua being now regarded as a scaleless relative of the modern-day pangolin, and the various European Phorusracids being reidentified as more primitive members of Cariamae.

E. antelios' placement within Xenarthra is further questioned because it lacks the distinctive joints that characterize Xenarthra, the same reason why Eurotamandua is no longer regarded as a xenarthran. Recent studies from new remains found in Late Paleocene Mongolian strata have led to the assessment that Ernanodon is closely related to Metacheiromys within the taxon Palaeanodonta, which, in the study, was reaffirmed to be the sister taxon of Pholidota, the order of pangolins.[1]



  • Agusti, Jordi; Antón, Mauricio (2002). Mammoths, Sabertooths, and Hominids. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231116404. OCLC 488732612.
  • Horovitz, I (2003). "The type skeleton of Ernanodon antelios is not a single specimen". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 23 (3): 706–8. doi:10.1671/2255.
  • Hunter, John P; Janis, Christine M (2006). "Spiny Norman in the Garden of Eden? Dispersal and early biogeography of Placentalia". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 13 (2): 89–123. doi:10.1007/s10914-006-9006-6.
  • Jehle, Martin (2008). "Genera and species of Paleocene mammals". Paleocene Mammals. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  • Kemp, TS (2005). The origin and evolution of mammals. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198507604.
  • Kondrashov, Peter; Agadjanian, Alexandre K (2012). "A nearly complete skeleton of Ernanodon (Mammalia, Palaeanodonta) from Mongolia: morphofunctional analysis". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 32 (5): 983–1001. doi:10.1080/02724634.2012.694319.