Metatheria is a grouping within the animal class Mammalia. First proposed by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1880, it is nearly synonymous with the earlier taxon Marsupialia (Illiger, 1811) though it is slightly wider since it also contains the nearest fossil relatives of marsupial mammals.

The earliest known representatives are from the uppermost Lower Cretaceous of North America.

The closest living relatives of the metatheres are the Eutheria (also erected by Huxley in 1880). Both are conventionally united as infraclasses within the subclass Theria (Parker and Haswell, 1897), which contains all living mammals except monotremes.

The Greek words meta- and theria mean the "changed beasts".

See also


  • McKenna MC & Bell SK, (1997), Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level. Columbia University Press.

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