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iVolaticotherium antiquus
Fossil range: Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous
Volaticotherium
Life restoration of Volaticotherium antiquus
Conservation status
Extinct (fossil)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Volaticotheria
Meng et al., 2006
Family: Volaticotheriidae
Genus: Volaticotherium
Species: V. antiquus
Binomial name
Volaticotherium antiquus
Meng et al., 2006

Volaticotherium antiquus was an ancient gliding mammal not closely related to any other mammalian group currently known. It had a gliding membrane similar to a modern-day flying squirrel. The teeth of Volaticotherium were highly specialized for eating insects, and its limbs were adapted to living in trees. The gliding membrane (patagium) was insulated by a thick covering of fur, and was supported by the limbs as well as the tail. The discovery of Volaticotherium provided the earliest-known record of a gliding mammal (70 million years older than the next oldest example), and provided further evidence of mammalian diversity during the Mesozoic Era.

Volaticotherium fossils were recovered from the Daohugou Beds of Ningcheng County, Inner Mongolia, China. The age of the Daohugou Beds is currently uncertain and the subject of debate — they appear to be either preceding or around the Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous boundary (c. 140-120 mya).[1] The description was published in an issue of the journal Nature.[2]

References

  1. Wang, X., Zhou, Z., He, H., Jin, F., Wang, Y., Zhang, J., Wang, Y., Xu, X. & Zhang, F. (2005). "Stratigraphy and age of the Daohugou Bed in Ningcheng, Inner Mongolia." Chinese Science Bulletin, 50(20): 2369-2376.
  2. Meng, J., Hu, Y., Wang, Y., Wang, X., and Li, C. (2006). "A Mesozoic gliding mammal from northeastern China." Nature, 444(7121): 889-893. [1]

External links

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