Temporal range: Middle Jurassic – Lower Cretaceous
Because of their molars and their lower jaw being a single bone (the dentary), they are generally regarded as mammals. However, those authors who limit the term "Mammalia" to the (living) crown group exclude docodonts. They use the term mammaliaformes instead.
Castorocauda is important because the first find was an almost complete skeleton (a real luxury in paleontology). It breaks the "small nocturnal insectivore" stereotype. It was noticeably larger than most Mesozoic mammaliaform fossils, and gives absolutely certain evidence of hair and fur. Of course, this strongly suggests mammalian-type temperature regulation.
Related pages[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- Docodonta from Palaeos
- Ji, Q.; Luo, Z-X. et al (2006). "A swimming mammaliaform from the Middle Jurassic and ecomorphological diversification of early mammals". Science 311 (5764): 1123–7. doi:10.1126/science.1123026. PMID 16497926. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/311/5764/1123. See also the news item at "Jurassic "beaver" found; rewrites history of mammals".