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Abstract

The genus Catopsalis Cope includes eight species (C. matthewi, C. catopsaloides, C. joyneri, C. alexanderi, C. foliatus, C. utahensis, C. fissidens, C. calgariensis) spanning Late Cretaceous through late Paleocene/early Eocene time on two continents, Asia (first two taxa) and North America (last six taxa). A cladistic analysis of dental and palatal features within the Taeniolabididae (which includes Catopsalis, Kamptobaatar, Lambdopsalis, Prionessus, Sphenopsalis, and Taeniolabis) indicates that Catopsalis is a paraphyletic taxon, composed of no fewer than five independent monophyletic groups. Taeniolabis is a monophyletic taxon, and Lambdopsalis, Prionessus, and Sphenopsalis (individually monophyletic by monotypy) together form another monophyletic group. These two clades appear to have evolved from ancestors within the paraphyletic taxon Catopsalis; accordingly, the smallest monophyletic group including all Catopsalis species also includes Taeniolabis, Lambdopsalis, Prionessus, and Sphenopsalis. C. matthewi, the most primitive member of this clade, is returned to Djadochtatherium Simpson, previously considered a junior subjective synonym of Catopsalis. The relationships demonstrated among various members of the Taeniolabididae support the hypothesis of a Late Cretaceous taeniolabidid dispersal from Asia to North America. The data additionally suggest a second dispersal event, probably in the middle to late Paleocene, in which the ancestors of the Lambdopsalis/ Prionessus/Sphenopsalis lineage dispersed from North America back to Asia.

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