Based on multiple 3D skeletal specimens we report a new Cretaceous stem therian mammal that displays decoupling of hearing and chewing apparatuses and functions. The auditory bones, including the surangular, have no bone contact with the ossified Meckel’s cartilage; the latter is loosely lodged on the medial rear of the dentary. This configuration probably represents the initial morphological stage of the definitive mammalian middle ear. Evidence shows that hearing and chewing apparatuses have evolved in a modular fashion. Starting as an integrated complex in non-mammaliaform cynodonts, the two modules, regulated by similar developmental and genetic mechanisms, eventually decoupled during the evolution of mammals, allowing further improvement for more efficient hearing and mastication.