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Temporal range: Early Jurassic–Upper Jurassic
Docodontidae is an extinct family of omnivorous, ecologically diverse mammaliformes that lived during the Early (Toarcian) to Upper Jurassic. Their remains have been found in Europe, Asia and North America. The mesiolingual part of lower molars regularly have wear.
Recent discoveries from China have surprised palaeontologists, revealing that this mammal group exploited a surprising number of ecological niches. There were specialised semiaquatic forms such as Castorocauda, specialist tree-climbers such as Agilodocodon, and specialised diggers like Docofossor. However, according to Fossilworcs Paleoboilogical Database the latter two are more basal in docodonts and sister taxa of docodontidae (and therefore within docodontoidea). Coupled with their unique dentition, although this offshoot of the mammal tree left no descendants, Docodontans formed a diverse and successful group that was a core component of extinct Jurassic ecosystems in the Northern Hemisphere.
- Ji, Q., Z.-X. Luo, C.-X. Yuan, A. R. Tabrum. 2006. A swimming mammaliaform from the Middle Jurassic and ecomorphological diversification of early mammals. Science, 311:5764 pp.1123-1127. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/311/5764/1123
- Paleontology and Geology of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation: Bulletin 36
- Qing-Jin Meng, Qiang Ji, Yu-Guang Zhang, Di Liu, David M. Grossnickle, and Zhe-Xi Luo 2015 An arboreal docodont from the Jurassic and mammaliaform ecological diversification. Science 347(6223): 764-768 DOI: 10.1126/science.1260880 http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/764.abstract
- Zhe-Xi Luo; Qing-Jin Meng; Qiang Ji; Di Liu; Yu-Guang Zhang; April I. Neander 2015. Evolutionary development in basal mammaliaforms as revealed by a docodontan. Science. 347 (6223): 760–764. DOI: 10.1126/science.1260880. PMID 25678660. Retrieved 19 Feb 2015.
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