Part A. Metatherian Mammals
Part A Question1) What are metatherian mammals? What are distinguishing characteristics of metatherian mammals?
Extinct mammals, they are very few living. Metatherians, which comprise marsupials and their closest fossil relatives, were one of the most dominant clades of mammals during the Cretaceous and are the most diverse clade of living mammals after Placentalia. The only living metatherian mammals are the marsupials. There were some extinct metatherians that were not marsupials, such as the Sparassodonts, but as these have gone extinct, a metatherian is now just a synonym for a marsupial Metatherians belong to a subgroup of the northern tribosphenic mammal clade or Boreosphenida. They differ from all other mammals in certain morphologies like their dental formula, which includes about five upper and four lower incisors, a canine, three premolars, and four molar. In metatherians, marsupium is present which is required for carrying the infants
Part A Question2) Describe the biogeography of metatherian mammals.
Part A Question3) Using the following websites choose one extant (currently living) metatherian (marsupial) mammal species. Conduct research about the species. Discuss and analyze the species’ anatomy, ecology, and life history. Write a species account of at least 300 words correctly citing the reference source(s) you used. Scientific names are comprised of the genus (capitalized) followed by the species name (not capitalized) and they are italicized. For example, Ornithorhynchus anatinus.
Web Site URL/Address
Mammalogy on the Internet
Tree of Life Web Project
Animal Diversity Web
Wilson & Reeder’s Mammal Species of the World
American Society of Mammalogists: Mammalian Species
Mammalian Species pdf Site
National Geographic Mammals
Species Scientific Name:
Species Common Name:
Part B. Comparison of Metatherian and Eutherian Mammal Ecology
Complete the table using the websites listed in Part B. Match the eutherian (placental) mammal with a similar ecological equivalent metatherian.
Scientific Name of Metatherian Mammal
Eutherian Mammal Match
List of Eutherian Mammals to Match
Part B Essay Question: What are potential hypotheses (explanations) regarding why there are ecological equivalents between many metatherians and eutherians? Discuss your hypothesis in terms of the processes that could lead to the current ecologies and distributions of metatherians and eutherians.