One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A fossil herbivorous mammal of the early Tertiary period, ancestral to the ungulates.
Order Condylarthra: several families
- ‘Archaic ungulates (‘condylarths’) were long known to be among many eutherians to make their first appearance and proliferate in the Paleocene.’
- ‘Paleocene faunas were dominated by what we refer to as archaic mammals: condylarths (archaic ungulates), archaic primates, small rodent-like multituberculates, pantodonts, and others.’
- ‘The ancient hoofed condylarths gave way to more modern ungulates, and became extinct before the end of the epoch.’
- ‘Primates, insectivores, and condylarths are recognized by the beginning of the Cenozoic, and by the start of the Eocene, most modern groups had become established.’
- ‘The first horse, Hyracotherium (= Eohippus), is known from the early Eocene and appears to have been derived from a condylarth.’
Late 19th century: from modern Latin Condylarthra (plural), from Greek kondulos ‘knuckle’ + arthron ‘joint’.
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