/mul'tee too berr"kyeuh lit, -layt', -tyoo-, mul'tuy-/, n.
1. a rodentlike mammal of the extinct order Multituberculata, which lived from the late Jurassic Period to the Oligocene Epoch, reaching the size of a woodchuck and having molars with two or three rows of simple pointed cusps.
2. of or pertaining to the multituberculates.
3. having teeth with many simple, pointed cusps.
[ < NL Multituberculata (1884); see MULTI-, TUBERCULATE, -ATA1]

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      any member of an extinct group of small, superficially rodentlike mammals (mammal) that existed from about 178 million to 50 million years ago (that is, from the middle of the Jurassic Period until the early Eocene Epoch). During most of this span, they were the most common mammals. Adult multituberculates were usually the size of mice (mouse), though the largest species approached the size of beavers (beaver). They were dominantly herbivorous (herbivore) and granivorous. The distinguishing characteristic of multituberculates is the construction of their molars, with two or three longitudinal rows of cusps. In fossils of more primitive forms, there are five or six cusps, whereas up to 30 cusps are present in advanced genera. Multituberculates had a single pair of long lower incisors and possibly one to three pairs of upper incisors. In most genera, the anterior lower premolars were large shearing teeth.

      The relationship of multituberculates to living mammals is controversial; some authorities argue that they branched off before the emergence of the last common ancestor of monotremes (monotreme), marsupials (marsupial), and placentals (placental mammal); other authorities argue that multituberculates are more closely related to the latter two groups.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • multituberculate — 1. adjective Having molars with multiple rows of cusps 2. noun Any of a small group of rodent like mammals, of the order Multituberculata, from the Cretaceous and Paleocene periods …   Wiktionary

  • multituberculate — mul·ti·tu·ber·cu·late (mul″te too burґku lət) having many tubercles …   Medical dictionary

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  • multituberculate — mul·ti·tuberculate …   English syllables

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