Ameridelphia is traditionally a superorder that includes all marsupial
Marsupials are an infraclass of mammals, characterized by giving birth to relatively undeveloped young. Close to 70% of the 334 extant species occur in Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands, with the remaining 100 found in the Americas, primarily in South America, but with thirteen in Central...

s living in the Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 except for the Monito del Monte
Monito del Monte
The Monito del Monte The Monito del Monte The Monito del Monte (Spanish for "little mountain monkey", Dromiciops gliroides, is a diminutive marsupial native only to southwestern South America (Chile and Argentina). It is the only extant species in the ancient order Microbiotheria, and the sole New...

 (Dromiciops). The order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

s within this group are listed below:
  • Order Didelphimorphia
    Opossums make up the largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, including 103 or more species in 19 genera. They are also commonly called possums, though that term technically refers to Australian fauna of the suborder Phalangeriformes. The Virginia opossum was the first animal to be...

    (93 species)
    • Family Didelphidae: opossums
  • Order Paucituberculata (6 species)
    • Family Caenolestidae: shrew opossums

As has long been suspected, modern marsupials are now understood to be an originally American lineage that later reached Australia and diversified there in a massive adaptive radiation
Adaptive radiation
In evolutionary biology, adaptive radiation is the evolution of ecological and phenotypic diversity within a rapidly multiplying lineage. Starting with a recent single ancestor, this process results in the speciation and phenotypic adaptation of an array of species exhibiting different...

. Molecular data, including analysis of retrotransposon
Retrotransposons are genetic elements that can amplify themselves in a genome and are ubiquitous components of the DNA of many eukaryotic organisms. They are a subclass of transposon. They are particularly abundant in plants, where they are often a principal component of nuclear DNA...

 insertion sites in the nuclear DNA
Nuclear DNA
Nuclear DNA, nuclear deoxyribonucleic acid , is DNA contained within a nucleus of eukaryotic organisms. In mammals and vertebrates, nuclear DNA encodes more of the genome than the mitochondrial DNA and is composed of information inherited from two parents, one male, and one female, rather than...

 of a variety of marsupials, and the fossil evidence indicate that Ameridelphia might best be understood as an evolutionary grade
Evolutionary grade
In alpha taxonomy, a grade refers to a taxon united by a level of morphological or physiological complexity. The term was coined by British biologist Julian Huxley, to contrast with clade, a strictly phylogenetic unit.-Definition:...

. Since Didelphimorphia appears to be the basal
Basal (phylogenetics)
In phylogenetics, a basal clade is the earliest clade to branch in a larger clade; it appears at the base of a cladogram.A basal group forms an outgroup to the rest of the clade, such as in the following example:...

 marsupial group, it and Paucituberculata do not seem to be closest relatives. Meanwhile, the unranked clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

 Euaustralidelphia has been proposed as the name for the Australian marsupials (Australidelphia
Australidelphia is the superorder that contains roughly three-quarters of all marsupials, including all those native to Australasia and a single species from South America...

 minus Microbiotheria
The Monito del Monte is the only extant member of its family and the only surviving member of an ancient order, the Microbiotheria. The oldest microbiothere currently recognised is Khasia cordillerensis, based on fossil teeth from Early Palaeocene deposits at Tiupampa, Bolivia...

, of which Dromiciops is the only survivor
Living fossil
Living fossil is an informal term for any living species which appears similar to a species otherwise only known from fossils and which has no close living relatives, or a group of organisms which have long fossil records...

), which in all probability derive from a single colonization out of South America via Antarctica.
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