Diacodexis

Name: Diacodexis.
Phonetic: De-ah-cpe-dex-iss.
Named By: Edward Drinker Cope‭ ‬-‭ ‬1882.
Synonyms: Gujaratia,‭ ‬Trigonolestes.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Artiodactyla,‭ ‬Dichobunidae.
Species: D.‭ ‬antunesi,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬gazini,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬gracilis,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬ilicis,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬indicus,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬kelleyi,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬metsiacus,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬minutus,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬pakistanensis,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬parvus,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬primus,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬secans,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬woltonensis.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Up to‭ ‬50‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: Across Eurasia and North America.
Time period: Ypresian to Lutetian‭ (‬possibly Bartonian‭) ‬of the Eocene.
Fossil representation: Hundreds of specimens.‭

       Diacodexis is an early indicator of the forms that the ungulates‭ (‬hoofed mammals‭) ‬evolved from,‭ ‬though Diacodexis may not have been‭ ‘‬the‭’ ‬ancestor even though it was certainly related to them.‭ ‬The main clue that Diacodexis is a candidate for being an ancestral form of artiodactyl is that while the feet still have five toes,‭ ‬the third and fourth toes were slightly elongated.‭ ‬Through successive generations over the course of millions of years,‭ ‬these two‭ ‬ toes‭ ‬would form the foundation of hooves while the other three toes would reduce to the point of being vestigial.
       In life Diacodexis would have lived in a similar manner to a small deer,‭ ‬remaining hidden in dense undergrowth while browsing and only walking out in the open when absolutely necessary.‭ ‬While its body shape and proportions are indeed similar however,‭ ‬Diacodexis had a much longer tail.‭ ‬The long legs of Diacodexis are proportioned like those of a runner and it‭’‬s possible that if it could not stay hidden from predators,‭ ‬it may have tried running through the undergrowth to escape them.‭ ‬In such a scenario the long legs would also allow Diacodexis to more easily clear ground obstacles like exposed roots and fallen branches than shorter legged pursuers.



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