December 3, 1998-A team of scientists announced today in the journal Nature the discovery of new specimens of an early relative of marsupials called Deltatheridium that provide unprecedented insight into the evolutionary split that eventually led to the rise of today's marsupials and placental mammals. The fossils were uncovered at Ukhaa Tolgod, one of the world's richest fossil sites, during the joint American Museum of Natural History/Mongolian Academy of Sciences expedition to the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, in Central Asia. The physical features observed in the new fossils allow scientists to define for the first time which characteristics are unique to the marsupial lineage, and allow them to draw a comprehensive family tree for both this group and our own progenitors, the placental mammals.
The above story is based on materials provided by American Museum Of Natural History. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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