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RE: Possums was Anhingas (A Challenge)
Don Ohmes wrote:
Now tell me why possums don't get: stronger, prettier, faster, smarter, or
You forgot 'hornier'. Possums are proficient breeders: 13 or more young per
litter, and can produce 2-3 litters per year. That's the first reason.
Possums have a "Fear Factor" diet: they eat almost anything. Their diet
includes bugs, snails, carrion, trash, as well as fruits and berries.
Possums are also very versatile, and have adapted quite well to urbanization
(the diet helps). This has helped them enormously in the modern U.S.
(What's it been now, =>60 mys?)
I'm a little behind on my Metatheria evolution, but crown-group Didelphidae
(or Didelphinae) probably first appeared quite a while later than 60 mya.
The Didelphidae was once used as a wastebasket for primitive-looking
putative metatherians (like _Alphadon_), and this erroneously stretched the
record of the family back to the Late Cretaceous.
BTW, in Australia and New Zealand, 'possum' refers to an entirely separate
group of marsupials, more properly known as phalangers, gliders, and honey
possums. The Western Hemisphere possums are more properly known as
'opossum' or (in some parts of the U.S.) 'dinner'.