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Ptilodus was a relatively large multituberculate (Order Multituberculata) that lived in North American woodlands during the Paleocene and didn't differ much from its Mesozoic ancestors. It was named by Edward Drinker Cope in 1881 (3); 'Ptilodus' is Greek for 'soft-haired'. Cope also mistakenly assigned some material belonging to this genus to Chirox in 1884. Elements from Ectypodus (2) and Neoplagiaulax have also been reassigned to this genus.

Ptilodus was 30-50 cm (12-20 in) long, about the same size as a squirrel. Its flexible feet, legs and toes, grasping claws and long, prehensile tail suggest it was a good climber, so it possibly led a squirrel-like lifestyle[1], scampering up and down trees in search of tasty fruits, nuts and bugs. It had long, rodent-like incisors, bladelike shearing teeth with striations and molars with parallel rows of cusps. The palate had large spaces and powerful chewing muscles were attached to the lower jaw. Ptilodus includes the following species: P. fractus; P. gnomus; P. kummae; P. mediaevus; P. montanus; P. tsosiensis and P. wyomingensis. Some other species have been included in Ptilodus: P. nellieae (Bell, 1941) is apparently mentioned in a manuscript; , rather than a publication. P. sinclairi (Simpson, 1935) seems to have become Parectypodus sinclairi.


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