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5 January 2021 Geologically Oldest Pediomyoidea (Mammalia, Marsupialiformes) from the Late Cretaceous of North America, with Implications for Taxonomy and Diet of Earliest Late Cretaceous Mammals
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Abstract

Terrestrial faunas of Turonian age are poorly known due to the paucity of the fossil record in North America and globally. The Smoky Hollow Member of the Straight Cliffs Formation, southern Utah, has yielded a rich assemblage of terrestrial vertebrates; among these, we herein recognize the geologically oldest members of Pediomyoidea. Two new species, Scalaria martini, gen. et sp. nov. and Scalaria aquilana, gen. et sp. nov., are recovered as members of Aquiladelphidae, sharing upper molar characters such as a subdivided B cusp, round and inflated cusps, and an anteroposteriorly expanded protocone. A fragmentary specimen is recognized as an indeterminate pediomyid with morphological similarities to Leptalestes. The occurrence of these distinctive groups in the Turonian prompted a reevaluation of possible antecedents from earlier faunas, and a review of specimens referred to Aquiladelphidae. A phylogenetic analysis suggests that the Cenomanian tribosphenidan Dakotadens may belong within Aquiladelphidae. Of specimens referred to Aquiladelphidae, we recognize Aquiladelphis laurae as a valid species within the genus, and describe a new species of Aquiladelphis from the Judith River Formation of Montana, Aquiladelphis analetris, sp. nov. Two specimens from the ‘Edmontonian’ Williams Fork Formation, previously identified as Aquiladelphis, are here referred to a new species of Glasbius, G. piceanus, sp. nov. The presence of dentally derived marsupialiforms in the Turonian suggests that ecological drivers credited with dietary specializations among later Cretaceous taxa, such as proliferation of angiosperms and pollinating insects, were at work earlier than previously thought.

© by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Joshua E. Cohen, Brian M. Davis, and Richard L. Cifelli "Geologically Oldest Pediomyoidea (Mammalia, Marsupialiformes) from the Late Cretaceous of North America, with Implications for Taxonomy and Diet of Earliest Late Cretaceous Mammals," Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 40(5), (5 January 2021). https://doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2020.1835935
Received: 13 November 2019; Accepted: 5 October 2020; Published: 5 January 2021
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