Abstract

Little is known of the non-dinosaurian fauna from the Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) part of the North Horn Formation, despite its biogeographic importance. Herein we describe a new marsupial mammal from the unit, founded on an exceptionally complete specimen of a juvenile individual, and present new information on the incisor region of early marsupials, based on comparison with complete specimens from the early Paleocene of Bolivia. Alphadon eatoni, new species, is the smallest Lancian species of the genus, and departs from a presumed marsupial morphotype in having the second lower incisor enlarged. The species is, however, primitive in lacking a "staggered" pattern to the incisor series and in having a labial mandibular foramen, and in these respects it differs from Paleocene and later marsupials. Poor representation of other taxa precludes meaningful comparison to most other North American Cretaceous marsupials, although Eodelphis, thought to be distantly related, also has an enlarged i2. Although Alphadon is characterized by many primitive features, the relative development of the incisors is not what would be predicted in a morphological antecedent to later Marsupialia.

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