(cohort Unguiculata, order Edentata)
An extinct suborder that comprises three known genera of primitive edentates which lived in N. America from the late Palaeocene to the Oligocene, and which may resemble the animals from which later edentates evolved although they themselves occurred too late to be considered ancestral. The incisors were absent, the cheek teeth were pegs with no enamel, reduced in number and in some forms probably replaced functionally by pads of horny material, but the canines were large. The vertebrae had not been modified in ways found in later edentates. Claws were well developed and there was a tendency for the wrist to be twisted. The most complete fossils are those of Metacheiromys, an animal about 45 cm long which probably fed on small invertebrates which it dug from the ground.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.