Convergent dental adaptations in pseudo-tribosphenic and tribosphenic mammals.Nature. 2007 Nov 01; 450(7166):93-7.Nat
Tribosphenic molars of basal marsupials and placentals are a major adaptation, with the protocone (pestle) of the upper molar crushing and grinding in the talonid basin (mortar) on the lower molar. The extinct pseudo-tribosphenic mammals have a reversed tribosphenic molar in which a pseudo-talonid is anterior to the trigonid, to receive the pseudo-protocone of the upper molar. The pseudo-protocone is analogous to the protocone, but the anteriorly placed pseudo-talonid is opposite to the posterior talonid basin of true tribosphenic mammals. Here we describe a mammal of the Middle Jurassic period with highly derived pseudo-tribosphenic molars but predominantly primitive mandibular and skeletal features, and place it in a basal position in mammal phylogeny. Its shoulder girdle and limbs show fossorial features similar to those of mammaliaforms and monotremes, but different compared with those of the earliest-known Laurasian tribosphenic (boreosphenid) mammals. The find reveals a much greater range of dental evolution in Mesozoic mammals than in their extant descendants, and strengthens the hypothesis of homoplasy of 'tribosphenic-like' molars among mammals.