Feb 26, 1976

The postcranial skeletons of the Triassic mammals Eozostrodon, Megazostrodon and Erythrotherium

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
F A Jenkins, F R Parrington


The purposes of this monograph are to describe the postcranial skeletons of the earliest known mammals, and to probe, in so far as possible by osteological study, biological questions concerning the habits and adaptations of these late Triassic forms. In this context, information on the background of this investigation is useful. Studies of Mesozoic mammals, begun some 150 years ago, are based on rare and fragmentary fossils, principally jaws and teeth. These investigations have yielded a bare outline of some 120 million years of mammalian evolution-about two-thirds of mammalian history. No assessment of the important biological changes occurring during this time can ever be complete, but major advances are possible as new discoveries provide material that is more complete or that represents a previously unknown evolutionary stage. So tenuous is the evidence that at least some concepts are re-evaluated with each discovery. Postcranial anatomy offers especially intriguing prospects for investigation because associated material (that can be positively assigned to a taxon below subclass) has been for the most part unknown, and indeed even dissociated bones are a rarity. Since G.G. Simpson's monographs of 1928 and 1929, progress in...Continue Reading

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