Condylarth

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Description:
Condylarthra is an order of extinct placental mammals known primarily from the Paleocene and Eocene epochs. Condylarths are among the most characteristic Paleocene mammals and they illustrate the evolutionary level of the Paleocene mammal fauna.

When compared to today's mammals, condylarths are relatively unspecialized placental mammals. However, in comparison to their insectivorous ancestors, members of the Condylarthra show the first signs of specializing to become omnivores or even herbivores.

Evolutionary history

Since larger land-bound herbivores were absent since the extinction of the dinosaurs, the shift in diet from insectivorous to more herbivorous trophic categories triggered the tremendous evolutionary radiation of the condylarths that we can observe throughout the Paleocene, resulting in the different groups of ungulates (or "hoofed mammals") that form the dominant herbivores in most Cenozoic animal communities on land, except on the island continent of Australia.

Here, the term Ungulata refers to a subgroup of placental mammals that are descendants of a common ancestor (i.e. homologous to), the most primitive...
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