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We describe here the first discovered mammalian remains from the Mongolian Early Cretaceous locality Oshih (Ashile). Four fragmentary, tooth-bearing specimens, probably corresponding to three individuals, have been recovered. All the fossils can be assigned to the family Gobiconodontidae (Chow and Rich, 1984). The specimens include three lower jaw fragments and one upper jaw fragment, and represent at least two different taxa.
Gobiconodon hopsoni n. sp., is described and diagnosed here. This new species is larger than G. ostromi (Early Cretaceous Cloverly Formation, USA); thus, it is the largest triconodont and one of the largest Mesozoic mammals known. Gobiconodon sp., found also at Oshih, is slightly larger than G. borissiaki from the Early Cretaceous of Khoobur, Mongolia, but smaller than G. ostromi The specimens of this second species are poorly preserved and provide insufficient data for a diagnosis.
The status of the different species of Gobiconodon and the new gobiconodontid Hangjinia is reviewed. In gobiconodontids and Triconodontidae, the maxillae appear to make a significant contribution to the orbital rim, a condition unusual among basal mammals, in which the lacrimal and jugal are the main components. Other triconodonts such as Jeholodens likely an “amphilestid”, appear to show the primitive mammalian condition for this feature. We present a brief consideration of triconodont relationships and discuss alternative placements of Gobiconodon among Mammaliaformes.