Named By: Hu, Y.Q. Wang, Luo & Li, C. - 1997.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Trechnotheria, Symmetrodonta, Spalacotherioidea, Zhangheotheriidae.
Species: Z. quinquecuspidens (type).
Size: Body approximately 16 centimetres long, longer including the tail.
Known locations: China, Liaoning Province - Yixian Formation.
Time period: Barremian to Aptian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Several specimens, usually of teeth and jaw material but a least one complete specimen is known.
was the first symmetrodont known by a complete specimen.
Zhangheotherium had pointed multicusped (up to
five) teeth towards
the rear of the mouth, something which is reflected in the species
name Z. quinquecuspidens. Despite the fact that
a mammal, the limbs sprawled out to the sides like a lizard rather
than supporting the body from underneath. An analogy between
Zhangheotherium and the modern day platypus (Ornithorhynchus
anatinus) can be made in that both possess venomous spurs
Small mammals like Zhangheotherium and Sinobaatar were prey to carnivorous dinosaurs, something that has been proved by the presence of mammal bones inside the dinosaur Sinosauropteryx.
- A new symmetrodont mammal from China and its implications for mammalian evolution. - Nature 390:137-142. - Y. Hu, Y. Wang, Z. Luo & C. Li - 1997.