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Sinodelphys

Sinodelphys is Greek for "Chinese opossum". Sinodelphys szalayi lived in Asian woodlands in the Early Cretaceous (130-125 million years ago) and is the earliest known metatherian.

It was about 15 cm (6 inches long) and weighed about 30 g (1.05 oz). It had opossum-like teeth and ate insects. The only known specimen was found in rocks of the Yixian Formation in the Liaoning quarry, China in 2003 by a team of scientists including Zhe-Xi Luo and John Wible. Sinodelphys is the earliest mammal known to have marsupial characteristics. Luo et al. (1) inferred from the foot structure that Sinodelphys was a scansorial tree-dweller, which probably spent most of its life high up in trees to avoid being eaten by tyrannosaurs and other large theropods.

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