Project 739: R. M. D. Beck. 2012. An ‘ameridelphian’ marsupial from the early Eocene of Australia supports a complex model of Southern Hemisphere marsupial biogeography. Naturwissenschaften: The Science of Nature. 99 (9):715-729.

Abstract

Recent molecular data strongly support the monophyly of all extant Australian and New Guinean marsupials (Eomarsupialia) to the exclusion of extant South American marsupials. This, together with available geological and fossil evidence, has been used to argue that the presence of marsupials in Australia is simply the result of a single dispersal event from South America during the latest Cretaceous or Palaeocene, without subsequent dispersals between the two continents. Here, I describe an isolated ankle bone (calcaneus) of a metatherian from the early Eocene Tingamarra Local Fauna in northeastern Australia. Strikingly, this specimen, QM F30060, lacks the ‘continuous lower ankle joint pattern’ (CLAJP), presence ofwhich is a highly distinctive apomorphy of the marsupial clade Australidelphia, which includes Eomarsupialia, the living South American microbiotherian Dromiciops and the Tingamarran fossil marsupial Djarthia. Comparisons with a range of marsupials and stemmetatherians strongly suggest that the absence of the CLAJP in QM F30060 is plesiomorphic, and that this specimen represents the first unequivocal non-australidelphian (‘ameridelphian’) metatherian known from Australia. This interpretation is confirmed by phylogenetic analyses that place QM F30060 within (crown-group) Marsupialia, but outside Australidelphia. Based on these results, the distribution of marsupials within Gondwana cannot be explained by simply a single dispersal event from South America and Australia. Either there were multiple dispersals by marsupials (and possibly also stem metatherians) between South America and Australia, in one or both directions, or, alternatively, there was a broadly similar metatherian fauna stretching across southern South America, Antarctica and Australia during the Late Cretaceous–early Palaeogene.


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Project DOI: 10.7934/P739, http://dx.doi.org/10.7934/P739
This project containsMatrices
  • 1 Media
  • 1 Matrix
  • 39 Taxa
  • 1 Specimen
  • 261 Characters
Total size of project's media files: 1 MB

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Total scored cells: 7699
Total media associated with cells: 0
Total labels associated with cell media: 0
Characters
Total characters: 261
Total characters with associated media: 0
Total characters with media with labels: 0
Total character states: 603
Total character states with associated media: 0
Total character states with media with labels:0
Total unordered/ordered characters:261/0
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MorphoBank Project 739

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    Robin Beck
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    Last logged in 08/07/12
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    Taxonomic Overview for Matrix 'M1668' (38 Taxa)

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    [1] Ornithorhynchus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    26211209026002
    [2] Tachyglossus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    21216214026002
    [3] Vincelestes
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    78173172011002
    [4] Ukhaatherium
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    158999904002
    [5] Asioryctes
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    14511211204002
    [6] Deltatheridium
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    175787808002
    [7] Mayulestes
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    8317417404002
    [8] Pucadelphys
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    5520620204002
    [9] Andinodelphys
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    7218618504002
    [10] Didelphis
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    226525405002
    [11] Monodelphis
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    326125305002
    [12] Caluromys
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    10715215004002
    [13] Glironia
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    10015815704002
    [14] Caenolestes
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    1024924506002
    [15] Dasyuroides
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    1224824207002
    [16] Dasyurus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    826224904002
    [17] Phascogale
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    1524524204002
    [18] Notoryctes
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    42209206013002
    [19] Echymipera
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    924824507002
    [20] Perameles
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    425525007002
    [21] Dromiciops
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    725224905002
    [22] Trichosurus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    325825206002
    [23] Phalanger
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    825224607002
    [24] Petaurus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    125525208002
    [25] Pseudochirops
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    525024907002
    [26] Cercartetus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    2323123107002
    [27] Macropus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    325625107002
    [28] Dendrolagus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    1124524208002
    [29] Dorcopsis
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    1524023907002
    [30] Thylogale
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    2123423307002
    [31] Vombatus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    8247241012002
    [32] Phascolarctos
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    9242242010002
    [33] Asiatherium
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    208515003002
    [34] Herpetotherium
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    11114614604002
    [35] Mimoperadectes
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    184706908002
    [36] Djarthia
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    172898405002
    [37] Palaeothentes
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    176808005002
    [38] QMF30060
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    240161605002


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