Australia's oldest marsupial fossils and their biogeographical implications

Beck, Robin M. D., Godthelp, Henk, Weisbecker, Vera, Archer, Michael and Hand, Suzanne J. (2008) Australia's oldest marsupial fossils and their biogeographical implications. PLoS One, 3 3: 1-8. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001858


Author Beck, Robin M. D.
Godthelp, Henk
Weisbecker, Vera
Archer, Michael
Hand, Suzanne J.
Title Australia's oldest marsupial fossils and their biogeographical implications
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2008-03-26
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0001858
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 3
Issue 3
Start page 1
End page 8
Total pages 8
Place of publication San Francisco, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: We describe new cranial and post-cranial marsupial fossils from the early Eocene Tingamarra Local Fauna in Australia and refer them to Djarthia murgonensis, which was previosly known only from fragmentary dental remains.

Methodology/Principal Findings:
The new material indicates that Djarthia is a member of Australidelphia, a pan-Gondwanan clade comprising all extant Australian marsupials together with the South American microbiotheres. Djarthia is therefore the oldest known crown-group marsupial anywhere in the world that is represented by dental, cranial and postcranial remains, and the oldest known Australian marsupial by 30 million years. It is also the most plesiomorphic known australidelphian, and phylogenetic analyses place it outside all other Australian marsupials.

Conclusion/Significance: As the most plesiomorphic and oldest unequivocal australidelphian, Djarthia may approximate the ancestral morphotype of the Australian marsupial radiation and suggests that the South American microbiotheres may be the result of back-dispersal from eastern Gondwana, which is the reverse of prevailing hypotheses.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 11 Dec 2014, 08:59:26 EST by Vera Weisbecker on behalf of School of Biological Sciences