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LATE SURVIVING CYNODONTS



The title should, of course, be LATE SURVIVING NON-MAMMALIAN CYNODONTS, but then
that wouldn't fit onto most bulletin board formats.

Pieter Depuydt wrote..

> The recent interest in microvertebrate remains has revealed the 
> coexistence of very small carnivorous and insectivorous non-mammalian 
> cynodonts together with the first true mammals (at least in the 
> Middle European locality of Lorraine(See Fraser and Sues: "In the 
> Shadow of the Dinosaurs"). Why did the mammal survive and 
> did their near relatives not  make it?....

People continue to overlook _Chronoperates_, a non-mammalian cynodont from the
Palaeocene. This taxon (known from a posterior mandible) was deemed distinct
enough for its own family. If the allocation is correct (I recall from the paper
that the case was very good as no other identity agreed with the characters),
_Chronoperates_ shows that tritylodontids were not the last non-mammalian
cynodonts, and that there were elusive little ones running around throughout
the Cretaceous and surviving across the KT boundary.

_Chronoperates_ was described in _Nature_ in 1992 or thereabouts - I'm afraid
I don't have the reference to hand. To denote its remarkably unexpected
occurrence (it's a Cainozoic 'living fossil'), the name given to it means 'Time
wanderer'. It's possible that I'm out of date on this matter and maybe opinions
on this fossil have changed. Please let me know if so. 

There has been one other mention of a surviving non-mammalian cynodont in the
literature: it's been proposed that New Zealand's waitoreke is a descendant of
_Procynosuchus_. Puh-leeez..... pesky cryptozoologists... And I'm surprised no
one has theorised madly on the furry dog-headed 'lizards' seen occasionally in
Italy. Same locale as the giant chicken I wonder?;-) 

"Dear oh dear we're facing a problem"

DARREN NAISH