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Taeniolabis taoensis is an iconic multituberculate mammal of early Paleocene (Puercan 3) age from the Western Interior of North America. Here we report the discovery of significant new skull material (one nearly complete cranium, two partial crania, one nearly complete dentary) of T. taoensis in phosphatic concretions from the Corral Bluffs study area, Denver Formation (Danian portion), Denver Basin, Colorado. The new skull material provides the first record of the species from the Denver Basin, where the lowest in situ specimen occurs in river channel deposits ~730,000 years after the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, roughly coincident with the first appearance of legumes in the basin. The new material, in combination with several previously described and undescribed specimens from the Nacimiento Formation of the San Juan Basin, New Mexico, is the subject of detailed ana- tomical study, aided by micro-computed tomography. Our analyses reveal many previously unknown aspects of skull anatomy. Several regions (e.g., anterior portions of premaxilla, orbit, cranial roof, occiput) preserved in the Corral Bluffs specimens allow considerable revision of previous reconstructions of the external cranial morphology ofT. taoensis. Similarly, anatomical details of the ascending process of the dentary are altered in light of the new material. Although details of internal cranial anatomy (e.g., nasal and endocranial cavities) are difficult to discern in the available specimens, we provide, based on UCMP 98083 and DMNH.EPV 95284, the best evidence to date for inner ear structure in a taeniolabidoid multituberculate. The cochlear canal of T. taoensis is elongate and gently curved and the vestibule is enlarged, although to a lesser degree than in Lambdopsalis.


This article was originally published in the Journal of Mammalian Evolution, available at

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