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Common knowledge - Mammals

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finchie
241411.  Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:32 pm Reply with quote

In Episode 3 - 'common knowledge' - Jimmy Carr points out that "all the indigenous mammals in Australasia are marsupials," and Steven Fry answers saying that they "are therefore not mammals." I thought that marsupials belonged to the Class Mammalia (Subclass Theria, Infraclass Metatheria), as do the Eutheria (Subclass Theria, Infraclass Eutheria) and the Monotremata (Subclass Prototheria), and so were therefore actually mammals. Is this not correct?

 
Flash
241412.  Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:42 pm Reply with quote

You're right, this was a cock-up on the part of the show. We have repented elsewhere on these boards - the search function should link to other threads on the subject.

 
MinervaMoon
241414.  Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:42 pm Reply with quote

You are very right; this is a fact discussed as early as 2005 here and here and here and here and here. And, of course, here.

 
finchie
241415.  Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:44 pm Reply with quote

Thankyou muchly - being a biologist I thought I should find out :) and also being new to the site I didn't find the other references, so thanks for pointing them out :)

 
djgordy
241422.  Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:11 pm Reply with quote

Actually there is one mammal indigenous to Australia which is neither a marsupial nor a monotreme and which doesn't seem to have been mentioned on any of the other threads: the dugong or sea-cow.

http://home.iprimus.com.au/readman/dugong.htm

 
finchie
241530.  Sat Dec 08, 2007 7:33 am Reply with quote

That is true, Sirenia are Eutherian mammals that are not marsupials. However the ancestor of the modern sirenians was found in Jamaica, and there is an absence in the fossil record of Australia from the Tertiary period which suggests that they were not present there until relatively recently. So they may not have evolved there, just colonised it later on.

 
djgordy
241606.  Sat Dec 08, 2007 11:48 am Reply with quote

That is probably true. However, "indigenous" is usually taken as meaning "not introduced by humans" or something similar. If an animal from one territory colonises another by natural means, even if it didn't evolve in that territory, then it would be considered as indigenous.

 
samivel
241622.  Sat Dec 08, 2007 12:12 pm Reply with quote

What about whales?

 
finchie
241740.  Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:10 pm Reply with quote

True. So they are indigenous, but not endemic, to Australia.

 
finchie
241742.  Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:14 pm Reply with quote

samivel wrote:
What about whales?


I hadn't thought about whales...interesting thought...

 

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