With the exception of the aberrant long-snouted phalanger, the members of the family Phalangeridae have the normal number of functional incisors, in addition to which there may be one or two rudimentary pairs in the lower jaw.
As the first example of the group may be taken the elegant little long-snouted phalanger (Tarsipes rostratus, fig.
As indicated in the accompanying illustration, the long-snouted phalanger is arboreal in habits, extracting honey and probably small insects from long-tubed flowers by means of its extensile tongue.
The ingenuity of nature, however, in adapting animals is not infinite, because the same devices are repeatedly employed by her to accomplish the same adaptive ends whether in fishes, reptiles, birds or mammals; thus she has repeated herself at least twenty-four times in the evolution of long-snouted rapacious swimming types of animals.
In the Tertiary epoch alligators, crocodiles and long-snouted gavials existed in Europe.