The group, which has also the alternative title of Didelphia, is by some authorities regarded as a sub-class of the mammalia of equal rank with the Monotremata, while by others it is brigaded with the placentals, so that the two together form a sub-class of equal grade with the one represented by the monotremes.
Thomas, Catalogue of Monotremata and Marsupialia in the British Museum (1888); "On Caenolestes, a Survivor of the Epanorthidae," Proc. Zool.
There are two orders, the Marsupialia and the Monotremata, which do not possess this organ; both these are found in Australia, to which region indeed they are not absolutely confined.
We pass on to the other curious order of non-placental mammals, that of the Monotremata, so called from the structure of their organs of evacuation with a single orifice, as in birds.
Latreille 6 published a new classification of the Vertebrata, which are primarily divided into Haematherma, containing the three classes of Maminifera, Monotremata and A y es; and Haemacryma, also containing three classes - Reptilia, Amphibia and Pisces.
Monotremata (q.v.) (Prototheria).
The anatomical differences by which the platypus, and its only allies the echidnas, are separated from all other mammals, so as to form a distinct sub-class, are described in the article Monotremata, where also will be found the main distinctive characters of the two existing representatives of the group. It is there stated that the early stages of the development of the young are not yet fully known.
" single uterus," - in allusion to the fusion of at least the basal portions of this organ, and in contradistinction to their duality in the Didelphia, or Marsupialia), Cuvier's name for the group which includes all the orders of mammals (See MAMMALIA) except the Marsupialia and Monotremata; other titles for this group being Placentalia and Eutheria.
With the Monotremata (q.v.) this group has no.
Others however (inclusive of Tritylodon and Microlestes, if they be really mammals), seem nearer to the Monotremata; and the question has yet to be decided whether placentals and marsupials on the one hand, and monotremes on the other are not independently derived from reptilian ancestors.
These three classes are the Monotremata (or Prototheria), the Marsupialia (Didelphia, or Metatheria), and the Placentalia (Monodelphia, or Eutheria); the distinctive characters of each being given in separate articles (see Mono Tremata, Marsupialia and Monodelphia.) The existing monotremes and marsupials are each represented only by a single order; but the placentals are divided into the following ordinal and subordinal groups, those which are extinct being marked with an asterisk (*) i.
One of the leading features in mammalian distribution is the fact that the Monotremata, or egg-laying mammals, are exclusively confined to Australia and Papua, with the adjacent islands.