“Mad beast” Madagascar will help to understand evolution on Islands

Paleontologists have discovered during excavations in Madagascar, nearly complete skeleton gondwanatheria — mammaliaform from the group, whose remains are extremely rare and until now was represented by a single fragmented skull and teeth, is reported in Nature. The animal has received the Latin name Adalatherium hui, which means “wild animal Hu Aamina”. It is the most intact discovery of Mesozoic mammaliaform and one of the largest.

Mammals flourished in the Cenozoic, but they and their closest relatives the clade synapse existed in the Mesozoic. One of these Mesozoic taxa gondwanatheriathat are completely extinct in the Eocene. As the name implies, they lived on the continent of Gondwana and its fragments in the southern hemisphere. The remains of the Mesozoic mammaliaformes mainly found in the Northern hemisphere, and in the South they are rare. From gondwanatheria long been only teeth, in the form which they have in common with the extinct mammals of multituberculate. In 2014 alone, paleontologists are lucky enough to find in Madagascar, a well-preserved skull with teeth like that. The animal, which he belonged, called Vintana. But no vertebrae, no ribs or bones of the limbs of gondwanatheria then not found.

Paleontologists, who opened vintana, continued to explore the deposits of the Maastricht tier (age of 72.1 to 66 million years old) in the North-West of Madagascar. The team under the leadership of David Krause (David Krause), which were researchers from different institutions in the US, Madagascar and China, discovered the almost complete skeleton of an animal with an unusual surface first the teeth located in the upper jaw behind the canines. Its structure was consistent with notions gondwanatheria, so the discovery attributed to him.

The animal was allocated in a new family Adalatheriidae and given the specific name Adalatherium hui. It consists of three parts: adàla — “mad” in Malagasy; therium (Greek θηριον, written in Latin) — “the beast” and hui in honour of the renowned Chinese paleontologist Hu Aamina (Yaoming Hu), who worked on the article, but, unfortunately, died.

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