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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cimolesta
Suborder: Didelphodonta
Family: Cimolestidae
Genus: Maelestes
Wible et al., 2007
Species: M. gobiensis
Binomial name
Maelestes gobiensis
Wible et al., 2007

Maelestes is a prehistoric shrew-like mammal discovered in 1997 in the Gobi Desert. The animal lived in the late Cretaceous Period, around 71-75 million years ago, and was a contemporary of dinosaurs such as Velociraptor and Oviraptor. According to some scientists, the discovery and analysis of this species suggests that true placental mammals appeared near the time the non-avian dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago, not much earlier in the Cretaceous as thought by others.[1]


  1. ^ Wible, J.R., G.W. Rougier, M.J. Novacek, and R.J. Asher. (2007). "Cretaceous eutherians and Laurasian origin for placental mammals near the K/T boundary." Nature, 447: 1003-1006.

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