#365papers for March 26, 2017
Williamson, Brusatte, Secord, and Shelley, 2016, A new taeniolabidoid multituberculate (Mammalia) from the middle Puercan of the Nacimiento Formation, New Mexico, and a revision of taeniolabidoid systematics and phylogeny: Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, v. 177, p. 183-208.
What’s it about?
This paper discusses a group of large multituberculates that lived during the Paleocene (approximately 66 – 55 million years ago). Multituberculates, alas, are extinct, but resembled rodents in many ways. They were distinguished by their multi-cusped teeth (that looked a little like Legos) and blade-like premolars.
Taeniolabidoids would have been squirrel to marmot sized – as a group much larger than most other multituberculates.
Why does it matter?
Paleontologists often rely on mammals to assign ages to rocks that are 66 million years old or younger. It’s important to have clear definitions of what the different species are. This study also makes it possible to better understand evolutionary relationships between the different species of multituberculate.
Why did I read this?
Hey, they cited my dissertation! The photos above are also from my dissertation. I worked on Paleocene mammals and I continue to be interested, but I needed to read this.