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''Kollikodon'' is an australosphenidan species, often classified as a monotreme but more recently recovered as an outgroup. It is known only from an opalised dentary fragment, with one premolar and two molars ''in situ'', as well as a referred maxillary fragment containing the last premolar and all four molars. The fossils were found in the Griman Creek Formation at Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, Australia, as was ''Steropodon''. ''Kollikodon'' lived in the Late Cretaceous period, during the Cenomanian age (99-96 million years ago). Like ''Steropodon'', ''Kollikodon'' was a relatively large mammal for the Mesozoic. The molars have a length of around 5.5 mm and a width of between about 4 and 6 mm (Clemens et al., 2003). Based upon these data, the potential body length could be up to a metre. Assuming the accuracy of such a guess, ''Kollikodon'' would be a contender for the largest Mesozoic mammal known, along with other possible giants such as ''Repenomamus'', ''Schowalteria'', and ''Bubodens''. Aside from its size, it is difficult to say what ''Kollikodon'' looked like. It is certain that its teeth were specialised to crush food, being perhaps a shellfish-eater or herbivore. The description of the upper jaw showed that it was strongly specialised, with molars being subdivided into numerous rounded cuspules, some of which exhibit pits, possibly the result of crushing hard items. Both ''Kollikodon'' and ''Steropodon'' can be found at the Australian Museum in Sydney, along with Eric, the opalised pliosaur.

Etymology

''Kollix'' is an ancient Greek word (κολλίξ) for a bread roll. The strange teeth of ''Kollikodon'', when seen from above, resemble hot cross buns, traditionally toasted and eaten on Good Friday. Originally, Michael Archer wanted to name it "Hotcrossbunodon", but met disapproval from his associates.


References


* Flannery, T.F., Archer, M., Rich, T.H., Jones, R. (1995) "A new family of monotremes from the Cretaceous of Australia". ''Nature'' 377: 418-420.


External links



Australian Museum online: Lightning Ridge
Opal fossils from Oz.

Some observations on ''Hotcrossbunidon''.

{{Taxonbar|from=Q131958 Category:Cretaceous mammals of Australia Category:Prehistoric mammal genera Category:Fossil taxa described in 1995