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.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that the functional dentition (other than the replacing premolar and the molars) correspond to the milk-dentition of placentals, and that the rudimentary tooth-germs represent a "prelacteal" dentition.
According to the latter, the early monotremes which became specialized into modern monotremes, gave rise to the ancestors of the modern marsupials; while the modern placentals are likewise an offshoot from the ancestral marsupial stcck.
Owing to the antiquity of both placentals and marsupials, the arboreal character of the feet of the modern forms of the latter is of little importance.
Another view is to regard both marsupials and placentals as derivates from implacental ancestors more or less nearly related to the creodont carnivora, or possibly as independently descended from anomodont reptiles (see Creodonta).
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