“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”

Instant Access to Thousands of Journals for just $40/month

Try 2 weeks free now

New Discoveries of “Opposum-Like” Marsupials from Antarctica (Seymour Island, Medial Eocene)



Five new species of marsupials are described from the middle Eocene La Meseta Formation of Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula. Three are derorhynchid didelphimorphians; one species is a prepidolopid polydolopimorphian, and the last is a microbiotheriid australidelphian. Additionally, fragmentary specimens representing an indetermined derorhynchid and a possible marsupial are also described. The prepidolopid and one of the derorhynchids are sufficiently derived as to preclude any close relationship to other members of that family, but the remaining taxa show the closest affinity with species otherwise known only from Itaboraian and older faunas in Patagonia. This differs from the affinity to early Eocene (Casamayoran) taxa shown by the polydolopid marsupials and placental mammals previously known from the La Meseta Formation. The newly described marsupials indicate that the relict La Meseta Fauna is composed of forms that must have dispersed to Antarctica no later than about early late Paleocene, whereas the previously known taxa apparently arrived in the early Eocene. Ecologically, the La Meseta Fauna is composed mostly of small-sized marsupials of likely insectivorous to frugivorous habits and larger-sized placental herbivores. Whereas the ratite bird of the La Meseta Fauna was probably also herbivorous, the phorusrhachoid and falconid birds comprised a large and smaller carnivorous to possibly scavenging component, respectively. Compared to contemporary faunas of Patagonia, the medium- to large-sized marsupial carnivores are lacking in the Antarctic Peninsula. Nevertheless, the La Meseta Fauna is Patagonian in origin and affinity. In conjunction with new faunas of Itaboraian age (early late Paleocene) in Patagonia, the evidence available indicates that from at least Itaboraian time onward the land mammal fauna of Patagonia and northern South America, as well, is a self-contained unit, developing the diversity characteristic of the Paleogene in that continent, including the australidelphian (but South American) microbiotheres. This, in combination with the apparent separation of Australia from Antarctica at ca. 64 Ma, reinforces interpretations that the precursors of the Australian marsupial fauna most likely dispersed from South America to Australia in the late Cretaceous–early Paleocene.



Journal of Mammalian EvolutionSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 1, 1999

DOI: 10.1023/A:1027357927460

Free Preview of First Page

Loading next page...

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy unlimited access and
personalized recommendations from
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $40/month

Try 2 weeks free now

Explore the DeepDyve Library

How DeepDyve Works

Spend time researching, not time worrying you’re buying articles that might not be useful.

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from Springer, Elsevier, Nature, IEEE, Wiley-Blackwell and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Simple and Affordable Pricing

14-day free trial. Cancel anytime, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Best Deal — 25% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 25% off!
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.

billed annually