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Through dark, albeit not hideous, channels I have acquired a pdf of the
description of *Fruitafossor*. It's almost cute how strongly the authors
emphasize _twice at every occasion_ that *F.* is not a xenarthran or
anything remotely similar; that's because *F.* falls between the error
margins of the ludicrous divergence time estimate for Xenarthra vs. other
placentals calculated by Kumar & Hedges in 1998 (129 +- 18.5 Ma ago).
Pangolins, palaeanodonts, *Eurotamandua* and *Ernanodon* (a particularly
mysterious Paleocene mammal from China that's sometimes suspected to be a
xenarthran) are mentioned in the supplementary information. They all lack
the tremendous list of plesiomorphies that *F.* retains. (On the other hand,
it isn't mentioned that basal palaeanodonts, like *Arcticanodon* which was
mentioned onlist today, have a more plesiomorphic dentition than *F.*, for
example retaining two-rooted cheek teeth!)
I can't hazard a guess about whether the middle ear was still connected to
the lower jaw (as the authors infer) or if the Meckelian groove just housed
a big splenial. However, the vestigial angular process is interesting --
that's exactly how the missing link between the australosphenidan grade
(bigger angular process) and the triconodont-multituberculate grade (no
trace of an angular process) is supposed to look like! :-)
To answer my own questions, yes, it's the metacoracoid, and yes, epipubes
are at least reconstructed...
The retention of lumbar ribs is especially impressive.
The hands are weird. Except for the phalangeal formula they look so
unmammalian. Like a turtle's, sort of (though there again it wouldn't fit
that the 5th finger is completely gone). Only six carpals!
Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs! There. I said it. Twice. :-)
If only I could think of an April Fools joke... somehow I'm not so
imaginative this year...