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.
Very different, on the other hand, is the condition of things in Australia and Papua, where marsupials (and monotremes) are the dominant forms of mammalian life, the placentals being represented (apart from bats, which are mainly of an Asiatic type) only by a number of more or less aberrant rodents belonging to the mouse-tribe, and in Australia by the dingo, or native dog, and in New Guinea by a wild pig.
When fully developed, the number of cheek-teeth is, however, seven; and it is probable that, as in placentals, the first four of these are premolars and the remaining three molars, although it was long held that these numbers should P. ? ??
On the assumption that these functional teeth correspond to the milk-series of placentals, "marsupials in this respect agree exactly with modern elephants, in which the same peculiarity exists.
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.