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Yubaatar, new large multituberculate from Upper Cretaceous of China (free pdf)



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new paper in open access:

Li Xu, Xingliao Zhang, Hanyong Pu, Songhai Jia, Jiming Zhang, Junchang
Lü & Jin Meng (2015)
Largest known Mesozoic multituberculate from Eurasia and implications
for multituberculate evolution and biology.
Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 14950 (2015)
doi:10.1038/srep14950
http://www.nature.com/articles/srep14950



A new multituberculate, Yubaatar zhongyuanensis gen. and sp. nov., is
reported from the Upper Cretaceous of Luanchuan County, Henan
Province, China. The holotype of the new taxon is a partial skeleton
with nearly complete cranium and associated lower jaws with in situ
dentitions. The new species is the southern-most record of a Late
Cretaceous multituberculate from outside of the Mongolian Plateau in
Asia and represents the largest known Mesozoic multituberculate from
Eurasia. The new specimen displays some intriguing features previously
unknown in multituberculates, such as the first evidence of
replacement of the ultimate upper premolar and a unique
paleopathological case in Mesozoic mammals in which the animal with a
severely broken right tibia could heal and survive in natural
condition. The phylogenetic analysis based on craniodental characters
places Yubaartar as the immediate outgroup of Taeniolabidoidea, a
group consisting of a North American clade and an Asian clade. This
relationship indicates at least a faunal interchange of
multituberculates before the K-Pg transition. The new evidence further
supports the hypothesis that disparity in dental complexity, which
relates to animal diets, increased with generic richness and disparity
in body size, and that an adaptive shift towards increased herbivory
across the K-Pg transitional interval.