Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Family of archaic fossil mammals belonging to the order Plesiadapiformes. Known from the middle to late Paleocene of North America; six genera of forms ranging from 50 to 600 g. Considered to be closely related to the microsyopids, and some authors include the palaechthonids with the Microsyopidae. Dental formula:; dentition and body size of smaller forms suggest insectivory, larger forms consuming plant matter with insect supplements. Cranial features indicate these animals had poor, if any, stereoscopic vision, and a large infraorbital foramen attests to vibrissae; it has been suggested that these animals were fossorial.

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