Muizon’s little joke

Joculusium muizoni

Reconstruction of Joculusium muizoni – Art by Dorothy Dunphy (Archer et al. 1994)

Joculusium muizoni (meaning Muizon’s little joke, after Palaeontologist Christian de Muizon and the fossil site Gag Site) was a very small carnivorous marsupial from the Middle Miocene (around 14 million years old) of Riversleigh, northwestern Queensland, Australia. Only a single lower jaw of this animal has been recovered so very little is known about its relationship to other animals, though it is likely to be related to animals such as quolls, Tasmanian Tigers and Tasmanian Devils.

 

Body size estimate

It weight approximately 132 grams.

 

Distribution and locality

Joculusium muizoni  is known from the Riversleigh World Heritage Fossil Site in northwestern Queensland. It is found in the following sites:

Faunal Zone C (Middle Miocene) -Gag Site

Habitat

It is found in Faunal Zone C.  Faunal Zone C is considered to be a rainforest environment.

Feeding and Diet

Joculusium muizoni was probably a small carnivore feeding on small vertebrates and insects.

 

The fossil lower jaw of Joculusium muizoni.

The fossil lower jaw of Joculusium muizoni.

Fossil material

Joculusium muizoni is from a single lower jaw, QM F36442.

Evolutionary Relationships

With so little known about this animal, it is difficult to say for sure what its closest relative is, but it was confidently placed within the order Dasyuromorphia, so it is related to animals such as quolls, tasmanian tigers and tasmanian devils.

Classification

Kingdom:
Animalia
Phylum:
Chordata
Class:
Mammalia
Cohort:
Marsupialia
Order:
Dasyuromorphia
Family:
incertae sedis (unknown)
Genus:
Joculusium
Species:
muizoni

References

  • Wroe, S. 2001. A new genus and species of dasyuromorphian from the Miocene of Riversleigh, northern Australia.  Memoirs of the Australian Association of Palaeontologists 25, 53-59.

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