Notoryctemorphia

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The Notoryctemorphia order is represented by 1 family containing a single genus and species, Notoryctes typhlops; although some scientists recognize a second species, Notorcytes caurinus. The fossil history for this order was unknown until recently when fossils from the middle Miocene of Queensland were discovered. This new information suggests a relationship (although distant) between Notoryctes and Peramelemorphia.


Notoryctemorphia is found in north and east central Western Australia, southern Northern Territory and western South Australia. They inhabit dry desert areas along river flats among scrubby bushes. While they do tunnel and are highly adapted for this activity, Notoryctemorphia also spends a fair amount of time on the surface. Their excavations are usually shallow and collapse easily behind as they burrow forward.


Active both day and night, Notoryctemorphia is well suited for digging. They possess fused vertebrae in the neck and a horny shield over the front of the head which together allows the animal to bore through the soil. They push the dirt and gravel out of the way with highly modified front digits and flattened hind limbs. This species is blind having only vestigial eyes under the skin each with a reduced optic nerve. They are marsupials with the young completing development in a pouch that opens posteriorly.