One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An extinct hoofed mammal of a large and varied group that lived in South America throughout the Tertiary period, finally dying out in the Pleistocene.
Order Notoungulata: many families
- ‘The land bridge allowed the South American armadillo, porcupine, opossum, and ground sloths to colonize the north, as well as the unique South American notoungulates.’
- ‘Also, Paedotherium, a hare-sized notoungulate that is one of the most abundant mammals of the Pampean Region, has been found in association with burrows.’
- ‘Purely by way of example, the image at left shows the nomenclature used for notoungulates, an extinct group of ungulates endemic to the early Cenozoic of South America.’
- ‘Note that notoungulates, too, have sharp rostra, inflated auditory bullae, and sagittal crests.’
- ‘That is, instead of the relatively orderly pattern of cusps possessed by most mammals, notoungulates have drawn out the cusps into long, messy arcs.’
Early 20th century: from modern Latin Notoungulata, from Greek notos ‘south’ + Latin ungula ‘nail’.
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