Metatheria is a mammalian clade that includes all mammals more closely related to marsupials than to placentals. First proposed by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1880, it is a more inclusive group than the marsupials; it contains all marsupials as well as many extinct non-marsupial relatives.
There are three extant subclasses of mammals, one being metatherians:
eutherians: placental mammals, consisting of four superorders divided into 21 orders.
Metatherians belong to a subgroup of the northern tribosphenic mammal clade or Boreosphenida. They differ from all other mammals in certain morphologies like their dental formula, which includes about five upper and four lower incisors, a canine, three premolars, and four molars. Other characters include skeletal and anterior dentition, such as wrist and ankle apomorphies; all metatherians share derived pedal characters and calcaneal features. The earliest known members of the group are from the latter half of the Early Cretaceous in North America. Remains of metatherians have been found on all continents.