Journal of Mammalian Evolution

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 165–177 | Cite as

Earliest Divergence of Stagodontid (Mammalia: Marsupialiformes) Feeding Strategies from the Late Cretaceous (Turonian) of North America

  • Joshua E. Cohen
Original Paper


Two new unequivocal stagodontids, Fumodelphodon pulveris, gen. et. sp. nov., and Hoodootherium praeceps, gen. et. sp. nov., are described from the Turonian (~92 Ma) Smoky Hollow Member of the Straight Cliffs Formation, of southern Utah, USA. Mammals from this time period are poorly represented; the recovery of these two large stagodontids demonstrates the early emergence of faunal elements mostly associated with the later Cretaceous. These taxa represent the earliest stagodontids with crushing premolars (Fumodelphodon) and sectorial premolars (Hoodootherium), morphologically similar to the well-known stagodontids Didelphodon and Eodelphis, respectively. The similar morphologies suggest that these two new genera may be early members of later Cretaceous stagodontid clades, implying a ~ 7 Ma ghost lineage leading to Eodelphis and a ~ 15 Ma ghost lineage to Didelphodon. A reexamination of stagodontid characters suggests a basal placement of Pariadens within Stagodontidae, contrary to some recent studies. The discovery of two new stagodontids bearing lower molars morphologically similar to, but premolars distinct from, Eodelphis highlights the importance of the specialized premolar morphology for resolving the relationships between genera within Stagodontidae.


Cretaceous Mammalia Stagodontidae Turonian Utah 



I am grateful to Rich Cifelli for helpful discussions and comments on the project, Nick Czaplewski for help with the illustrations, and Steve Westrop, Guillermo Rougier, and Joe Frederickson for advice on the phylogenetic analysis. I would like to thank Alan Titus and Scott Foss of the Bureau of Land Management for access to the field area and permission to collect fossils on Federal lands. Support for this project was provided by grants to Rich Cifelli from the National Geographic Society (2881-84), the National Science Foundation (BSR 8507598, 8796225, 8906992, DEB 9401994), and the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society (20311-G8). Lastly, I would like to thank Brian Davis and Jeff Eaton for helpful comments on a previous version of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10914_2017_9382_MOESM1_ESM.docx (78 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 77.8 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sam Noble Museum and Department of BiologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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