Are there opossums in Europe?
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Are there opossums in Europe?
There are more than 70 species of opossum in the Western Hemisphere, but only one in North America. For Europeans exploring the New World, the opossum was only one of many novel creatures, such as the alligator, rattlesnake, armadillo and wild turkey. Few, however, fired the European imagination as much as the opossum.
Is there a difference between possum and opossum?
Both possum and opossum correctly refer to the Virginia opossum frequently seen in North America. In common use, possum is the usual term; in technical or scientific contexts opossum is preferred. Opossum can be pronounced with its first syllable either voiced or silent.
Where did possums originate?
The largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, it comprises 120+ species in 19 genera. Opossums originated in South America and entered North America in the Great American Interchange following the connection of north and south america.
What kinds of mammals were found on Australia when it separated from the rest of the continents?
Two of the world’s three major groups of extant mammals had their origin in the Australian part of the Gondwana supercontinent, the monotremes and marsupials. The oldest mammal fossils from Australia are monotreme fossils from the Cretaceous of Southern Australia.
Where are opossums found?
Habitat. The common opossum and Virginia opossum are found in the United States, Mexico, Central America, South America and Canada. Though they aren’t picky about where they hang out, opossums love trees and will stay aloft in trees as much as possible.
What does it mean if someone calls you possum?
The word possum is an informal, regional variation on opossum that’s only used in North America. It’s especially common in the phrase “playing possum,” which refers to the possum’s involuntary reaction to fear or harm, falling into a death-like faint, and also to a person who pretends to be innocent.
Why are opossums called possums?
In North America, the animal officially called an opossum is a white and gray marsupial of the order Didelphimorphia. English colonists living in Jamestown derived the word from its equivalent in Powhatan, a language spoken by the Virginia Algonquian tribe.
What type of animal is a possum?
Possums are a suborder of 70 tree-living marsupial species native to Australia and the Indonesian islands of New Guinea and Sulawesi. While their names are similar and both are marsupials, possums and opossums are different creatures.
How ancient are possums?
Opossum-like peradectids first appeared on the continent about 65 million years ago, at the time of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, which killed the dinosaurs.
How was Australia formed geologically?
Australia as a separate continent began to form after the breakup of Gondwana in the Permian, with the separation of the continental landmass from the African continent and Indian subcontinent. Australia rifted from Antarctica in the Cretaceous.
When did Australia become a separate continent?
Australia began its journey across the surface of the Earth as an isolated continent between about 55 and 10 million years ago, and continues to move north by about seven centimetres each year.
What type of species is a possum?