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RE: More about *Kryoryctes cadburyi*

Dann Pigdon wrote:

Some more about the 'new' Oz mammal *Kryoryctes cadburyi*, including why
it was named after a chocolate company:


Nice story. I've always had a sweet tooth when it comes to Cadbury's chocolate. Does this mean that Cadbury will introduce a line of "Caramello Kryoryctes" alongside the traditional "Caramello Koala"? :-)

In their paper in Journal of Mammalian Evolution, the authors baulk at the idea that _Kryoryctes_ is actually a Cretaceous echidna (Tachyglossidae) and "covered with quills, and toothless" (as the National Geographic article says). Instead, Pridmore et al. (2005) are more cautious, saying: "On the basis of comparisons with Mesozoic and Cainozoic mammalian taxa in which humeral morphology is known, the Dinosaur Cove humerus is tentatively attributed to a monotreme. However, several apparently primitive features of the bone exclude the animal concerned from the extant families Tachyglossidae and Ornithorhynchidae and suggest that, if it is a monotreme, it is a stem-group monotreme."

It was my impression that the tachyglossid-like nature of the humerus is due more to the fossorial nature it suggests for _Kryoryctes_ than any close relationships to the echidnas. It could be due to both; but it's not even clear that _Kryoryctes_ is a monotreme/prototherian. It would be great if echidnas were around in the Cretaceous - unless of course you were a small dinosaur living in the same habitat (stepping on an echidna is not something you would want to do).