Docodonta

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Docodonts
Temporal range: Middle Jurassic–Early Cretaceous
Life restoration of a Castorocauda
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Synapsida
Order: Therapsida
Clade: Cynodontia
Clade: Mammaliaformes
Order: Docodonta
Kretzoi, 1946
Subgroups

Docodonta is an order of extinct mammaliaforms that lived during the mid- to late-Mesozoic era. Their most distinguishing physical features were their relatively sophisticated set of molars, from which the order gets its name. In the fossil record, Docodonta is represented primarily by isolated teeth and bits of jawbones. While most of these specimens have been found across former Laurasia (modern-day North America, Europe, and Asia), some have also been found from Gondwana (modern-day India and Southern Hemisphere).

Docodonts are not quite as closely related to the placentals and marsupials as the monotremes are, so they are not included among the crown-group mammals. Because of the complexity of their molars and the fact that they possess the dentary-squamosal jaw joint, though, they have generally been regarded as mammals. Some authors do limit the term "Mammalia" to the crown group, however, excluding mammaliaforms like the docodonts.

Docodonts are thought to have been primarily herbivorous or insectivorous, although Castorocauda, adapted to a semi-aquatic existence, has teeth which suggest it ate fish.

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