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Temporal range: Early Jurassic
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Therapsida
Suborder: Cynodontia
Genus: Sinoconodon
Patterson & Olson, 1961
Species: S. rigneyi
Binomial name
Sinoconodon rigneyi
Patterson & Olson, 1961

Sinoconodon rigneyi[1] is an ancient mammaliamorph or early mammal (depending on systematic approach) that appears in the fossil record of China in the Sinemurian stage of the Early Jurassic period, about 193 million years ago. While in many traits very similar to non-mammlian synapsids, it possessed a special, secondarily evolved jaw joint between the dentary and the squamosal bones, which had replaced the primitive tetrapod one between the articular and quadrate bones, a trait commonly used to define mammals.[2]

Although the animal is closely related to Morganucodon, it is regarded as the most basal of the mammaliaforms.[3] It differed substantially from the more mammalian Morganucodon in its dental and growth habits. Like other non-mammalian tetrapods, such as reptiles and amphibians, it was polyphyodont, replacing many of its teeth throughout its lifetime, and it seems to have grown slowly but continuously until its death. Sinoconodon is thus less mammalian than early mammaliaforms like docodonts and morganucodonts.[2] Even the smallest known individuals had already begun the teething cycle of the front teeth, and combined with a poorly ossified jaw, it very probably did not suckle.[4] The combination of basal tetrapod and mammalian features makes it a unique transitional species. There are simply no animals like it alive today.[4]

As epipubic bones are ancestral to Mammaliaformes and restrict abdominal movement, forcing non-placental mammals (such as the still living monotremes and marsupials) to produce fetus-like young,[5][6] the fact that Sinoconodon secondarily lost milk could have remarkable implications in regard to its lifecycle.

Phylogeny [7]











  1. ^ (net, info) [1]. "Taxonomic lists- Mammals". Retrieved 30 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Kielan-Jaworowska, Z; Luo, ZX; Cifelli, RL (2004). Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs. Columbia University Press. Chapter 4. ISBN 9780231119184. 
  3. ^ Luo, ZX; Kielan-Jaworowska, Z; Cifelli, RL (2002). "In quest for a phylogeny of Mesozoic mammals". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 47 (1): 1–78. 
  4. ^ a b Mammals of the Mesozoic: The least mammal-like mammals
  5. ^ Michael L. Power,Jay Schulkin. The Evolution Of The Human Placenta. pp. 68–.
  6. ^ Novacek, M.J.; Rougier, G.W; Wible, J.R.; McKenna, M.C; Dashzeveg, D. & Horovitz, I. (October 1997). "Epipubic bones in eutherian mammals from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia". Nature. 389 (6650): 483–486. Bibcode:1997Natur.389..483N. doi:10.1038/39020. PMID 9333234. Retrieved 2008-09-24.
  7. ^ Close, Roger A.; Friedman, Matt; Lloyd, Graeme T.; Benson, Roger BJ (2015). "Evidence for a mid-Jurassic adaptive radiation in mammals". Current Biology. 25 (16): 2137–2142. PMID 26190074. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.047. 

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