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Ancient Mammals of Gondwanan South America

  • Thomas Defler
Chapter
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 42)

Abstract

This is a synopsis of what is known of South American mammals from the Mesozoic Era, which begins (according to present information) in the Early Jurassic around 183–174 Ma when a triconodont tooth was found in Patagonia. More spectacular additions to the mammalian fauna are known for the Late Jurassic 168–161 million years ago, representing the most completely known biota from Middle to Late Jurassic for South America, comprising australosphenid mammals (relatives of the platypus) and the now extinct triconodont mammals. The Early Cretaceous became known for the increasing number of known fossils. This Cretaceous fauna was dominated in South America by dryolestid mammals, which were closely related to the modern placental mammals. During this latter part of the Mesozoic, a couple of spectacular fossils were found: Vincelestes neuquenianus and Cronopio dentiacutus, both of which are illustrated and discussed in this chapter. This ancient fauna survived the Chicxulub impact (the K/T transition) into the early part of the Paleogene but rather quickly replaced by a more modern fauna (the metatheres and primitive ungulates) that invaded from the north.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Defler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyNational University of Colombia, BogotaBogotaColombia

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