|Juramaia , the oldest known eutherian|
|Clade:|| Eutheria |
Eutheria ( // ; from Greek εὐ-, eú- 'good, right' and θηρίον, thēríon 'beast'; lit. 'true beasts') is the clade consisting of all therian mammals that are more closely related to placentals than to marsupials.
Eutherians are distinguished from noneutherians by various phenotypic traits of the feet, ankles, jaws and teeth. All extant eutherians lack epipubic bones, which are present in all other living mammals (marsupials and monotremes). This allows for expansion of the abdomen during pregnancy.
The oldest-known eutherian species is Juramaia sinensis , dated atfrom the early Late Jurassic (Oxfordian) of China.
Eutheria was named in 1872 by Theodore Gill; in 1880 Thomas Henry Huxley defined it to encompass a more broadly defined group than Placentalia.
Distinguishing features are:
Eutheria contains several extinct genera as well as larger groups, many with complicated taxonomic histories still not fully understood. Members of the Adapisoriculidae, Cimolesta and Leptictida have been previously placed within the out-dated placental group Insectivora, while Zhelestids have been considered primitive ungulates.However, more recent studies have suggested these enigmatic taxa represent stem group eutherians, more basal to Placentalia.
The weakly favoured cladogram favours Boreoeuthearia as a basal eutherian clade as sister to the Atlantogenata.
|The fossil eutherian species believed to be the oldest known is Juramaia sinensis , which lived about . Montanalestes was found in North America, while all other nonplacental eutherian fossils have been found in Asia. The earliest-known placental fossils have also been found in Asia.|
Marsupials are any members of the mammalian infraclass Marsupialia. All extant marsupials are endemic to Australasia and the Americas. A distinctive characteristic common to most of these species is that the young are carried in a pouch. Well-known marsupials include kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, opossums, wombats, Tasmanian devils, and the extinct thylacine. Some lesser-known marsupials are the dunnarts, potoroos, and the cuscus.
Placentalia is one of the three extant subdivisions of the class of animals Mammalia; the other two are Monotremata and Marsupialia. The placentals are partly distinguished from other mammals in that the fetus is carried in the uterus of its mother to a relatively late stage of development. The name is something of a misnomer considering that marsupials also nourish their fetuses via a placenta, though for a relatively briefer period, giving birth to less developed young who are then kept for a period in the mother's pouch.
Eomaia is a genus of extinct fossil mammals containing the single species Eomaia scansoria, discovered in rocks that were found in the Yixian Formation, Liaoning Province, China, and dated to the Barremian Age of the Lower Cretaceous about. The single fossil specimen of this species is 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in length and virtually complete. An estimate of the body weight is between 20–25 grams (0.71–0.88 oz). It is exceptionally well-preserved for a 125-million-year-old specimen. Although the fossil's skull is squashed flat, its teeth, tiny foot bones, cartilages and even its fur are visible.
Metatheria is a mammalian clade that includes all mammals more closely related to marsupials than to placentals. First proposed by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1880, it is a slightly more inclusive group than the marsupials; it contains all marsupials as well as many extinct non-marsupial relatives.
Zalambdalestes was a eutherian mammal, most likely not a placental due to the presence of an epipubic bone, living during the Upper Cretaceous in Mongolia.
Pucadelphys is an extinct genus of non-marsupial metatherian species. The genus contains a single species, P. andinus. Fossils of Pucadelphys have been found in the Santa Lucía Formation in Tiupampa in Bolivia.
Sinodelphys is an extinct mammal from the Early Cretaceous, estimated to be 125 million years old. It was discovered and described in 2003 in rocks of the Yixian Formation in Liaoning Province, China, by a team of scientists including Zhe-Xi Luo and John Wible.
Protungulatum is a extinct genus of pan-euungulate mammals within extinct family Protungulatidae, and also one of the earliest known placental mammal in the fossil record, that lived in North America from the Late Cretaceous to early Paleocene.
Cimolestes is a genus of early eutherians with a full complement of teeth adapted for eating insects and other small animals. Paleontologists have disagreed on its relationship to other mammals, in part because quite different animals were assigned to the genus, making Cimolestes a grade taxon of animals with similar features rather than a genus of closely related ones. Fossils have been found in North America, South America, Europe and Africa. Cimolestes first appeared during the Late Cretaceous of North America. According to some paleontologists, Cimolestes died out at the start of the Paleocene, while others report the genus from the early Eocene.
The evolution of mammals has passed through many stages since the first appearance of their synapsid ancestors in the Pennsylvanian sub-period of the late Carboniferous period. By the mid-Triassic, there were many synapsid species that looked like mammals. The lineage leading to today's mammals split up in the Jurassic; synapsids from this period include Dryolestes, more closely related to extant placentals and marsupials than to monotremes, as well as Ambondro, more closely related to monotremes. Later on, the eutherian and metatherian lineages separated; the metatherians are the animals more closely related to the marsupials, while the eutherians are those more closely related to the placentals. Since Juramaia, the earliest known eutherian, lived 160 million years ago in the Jurassic, this divergence must have occurred in the same period.
Maelestes is a prehistoric shrew-like mammal discovered in 1997 in the Gobi Desert. The animal lived in the late Cretaceous Period, around 71-75 million years ago, and was a contemporary of dinosaurs such as Velociraptor and Oviraptor. According to some scientists, the discovery and analysis of this species suggests that true placental mammals appeared near the time the non-avian dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago, not much earlier in the Cretaceous as thought by others. However, the presence of an epipubic bone, among other characteristics, place it as a non-placental eutherian.
Epipubic bones are a pair of bones projecting forward from the pelvic bones of modern marsupials and most non-placental fossil mammals: multituberculates, monotremes, and even basal eutherians. They first occur in non-mammalian cynodonts such as tritylodontids, suggesting that they are a synapomorphy between them and Mammaliformes.
Vincelestes is an extinct genus of actively mobile mammal, that lived in what would be South America during the Early Cretaceous from 130—112 mya, existing for approximately.
Dryolestida is an extinct order of mammals; most of the members are mostly known from the Jurassic to Paleogene, with one member, Necrolestes, surviving as late as the early Miocene. They are considered members of the clade Cladotheria, close to the ancestry of therian mammals. It is also believed that they developed a fully mammalian jaw and also had the three middle ear bones. Other than that, not much is known about them, this is because their fossils are made up mostly of jaw and tooth remains.
Leptictida is a possibly invalid extinct order of placental mammals. Their classification is contentious: according to cladistic studies, they may be (distantly) related to Euarchontoglires, although they are more recently regarded as the first branch to split from basal eutherians. One recent large-scale cladistic analysis of eutherian mammals favored lepictidans as close to the placental crown-clade; and several other recent analyses that included data from Cretaceous non-eutherian mammals found Leptictis to belong to the superorder Afrotheria.
Necrolestes is an extinct genus of non-therian mammals, which lived during the Early Miocene in what is now Argentine Patagonia. It contains two species, N. patagonensis and N. mirabilis, and is the most recent known genus of dryolestoid. The type species N. patagonensis was named by Florentino Ameghino in 1891 based on remains found by his brother, Carlos Ameghino in Patagonia. Fossils of Necrolestes have been found in the Sarmiento and Santa Cruz Formations.
Holotheria are a diverse group of mammals that are descendants of the last common ancestor of Kuehneotherium and Theria.
Marsupionta is a hypothesised subclass within the Mammalia group. The existence of Marsupionta is a postulation by some researchers as a category devolving upon a notional unification between marsupials with the egg-laying monotremes. Under this suggested classification, placental mammals would be the sister subclass to Marsupionta. The Marsupionta hypothesis was proposed in 1947 by W.K. Gregory and has since been the subject of multiple studies. This merging of marsupials and monotremes into the hypothesized subclass of Marsupionta is contrary to the widespread belief that pouch and placental mammals share the common subclass Theria that excludes monotremes.
Zhelestidae is a lineage of extinct eutherian mammals. Occurring in the Late Cretaceous from the Turonian to the Maastrichtian, they were an extremely successful group, with representatives present in Europe, Asia, India, Africa and North America, ostensibly rendering them a cosmopolitan clade. They were specialised towards an herbivorous lifestyle and were in fact initially considered stem-ungulates, but the presence of epipubics and "archaic" dental characters render them as non-placental eutherians.
Zalambdalestidae is a clade of Asian eutherians occurring during the Late Cretaceous. Once classified as Glires, features like epipubic bones and various cranial elements have identified these animals as outside of Placentalia, representing thus a specialised clade of non-placental eutherians without any living descendants, and potentially rather different from modern placentals in at least reproductive anatomy.
|Wikispecies has information related to Eutheria .|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Monodelphia .|