Strange Possum Species Lived in Australia 25 Million Years Ago

A brand-new types of ektopodontid possum has actually been explained from Oligocene-age fossils discovered in main Australia.

Life restoration of Ektopodon serratus (leading left), a relative of Chunia pledgei, and the marsupial lion Wakaleo oldfieldi (right). Image credit: Peter Schouten/ CC BY-SA.

Life restoration of Ektopodon serratus (leading left), a relative of Chunia pledgeiand the marsupial lion Wakaleo oldfieldi (right). Image credit: Peter Schouten/ CC BY-SA.

Chunia pledgei wandered our world throughout the Oligocene date, some 25 million years earlier.

It comes from Ektopodontidae, an enigmatic group of marsupials understood from the Late Oligocene to the Early Pleistocene of Australia.

These animals had brief faces, big, forward-facing eyes and the most uncommon and complicated teeth of any marsupial.

Chunia pledgei had teeth that would be a dental professional’s problem, with great deals of bladed points (cusps) located side by side, like lines on a barcode,” stated Flinders University Ph.D. prospect Arthur Crichton and coworkers.

“This tooth shape is particular of types in the improperly understood, extinct possum household Ektopodontidae.”

“The brand-new types is uncommon because it has pyramid-shaped cusps on its front molars,” they included.

“These may have worked for puncture-crushing difficult foods– a bit like a nutcracker.”

“So what did ektopodontids consume? We do not actually understand for sure– there’s no animal like them alive today throughout the world,” the paleontologists stated.

“Based on elements of their molar morphology, we presume they were most likely consuming fruits and seeds or nuts.”

“But they might have been doing something completely various!”

The fossilized remains of Chunia pledgei were discovered at the Pwerte Marnte fossil region in main Australia.

According to the authors, the brand-new types is most likely the geologically earliest ektopodontid possum.

“Unfortunately, ektopodontids are tantalizingly unusual in the fossil record, understood just from separated teeth and numerous partial jaws,” they stated.

“The fossils reveal they had a lemur-like brief face, with especially big, forward-facing eyes.”

“But till we discover more total skeletal product, their ecology will likely stay strange.”

“What stays amazing is simply how little we understand about the origins of Australia’s living animals, owing in no little part to a 30-million-year space in the fossil record– half the time in between now and the termination of the dinosaurs.”

“At the very same time, it’s motivating to think of the numerous unusual and interesting animals that should have when survived on this continent.”

“Fossil proof of these animals might still be sitting someplace in the wilderness, waiting to be found.”

The findings were released online in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology


Arthur I. Crichton et alA brand-new ektopodontid possum (Diprotodontia, Ektopodontidae) from the Oligocene of main Australia, and its ramifications for phalangeroid correlations. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontologyreleased online February 23, 2023; doi: 10.1080/ 02724634.2023.2171299

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