Small furry animal lived with dinosaurs

Jan 12, 2006

The fossil of a small, furry insect-eating animal that walked like a platypus has been found in China.

Researchers say the find provides important new clues to the evolution of early mammals, National Geographic News reported.

The well-preserved fossil, found in the province of Liaoning in northeast China, is a previously unknown species of insect-eating mammal that lived alongside dinosaurs some 125 million years ago, National Geographic said.

In a report published in the journal Nature, paleontologists Gang Li and Zhe-Xi Luo said the animal reveals some unexpectedly primitive features, and that it strengthens Asia's claim as the site where the main mammal groups originated.

The animal, named Akidolestes, had jaws, teeth, and forelimbs that identify it as a close relative of modern placental and marsupial mammals. But the researchers said it has a highly unusual back-half to its skeleton similar to that of primitive, egg-laying mammals known as monotremes.

National Geographic said the only living descendants of monotremes are the duck-billed platypus of Australia and two species of spiny anteaters.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Dinosaurs fell victim to perfect storm of events, study shows

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Four new tuco-tuco species found in Bolivia

Jul 18, 2014

A research team led by Scott Gardner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has identified four new species of Ctenomys, a genus of gopher-like mammal found throughout much of South America.

What geology has to say about global warming

Jul 14, 2014

Last month I gave a public lecture entitled, "When Maine was California," to an audience in a small town in Maine. It drew parallels between California, today, and Maine, 400 million years ago, when similar ...

Bees from the inside out

Jul 08, 2014

It is 1,825 miles from New Haven, Conn., to Austin, Tex., which typically means 30 hours of driving and three nights in motels, not an easy trip for anyone. But for researchers moving from Yale University ...

Fossils of tiny, unknown hedgehog identified

Jul 08, 2014

Meet perhaps the tiniest hedgehog species ever: Silvacola acares. Its roughly 52-million-year-old fossil remains were recently identified by a University of Colorado Boulder-led team working in British Columb ...

Scientists revise timeline of human origins

Jul 03, 2014

Many traits unique to humans were long thought to have originated in the genus Homo between 2.4 and 1.8 million years ago in Africa. Although scientists have recognized these characteristics for decades, they a ...

Recommended for you

Affirmative action elicits bias in pro-equality Caucasians

Jul 25, 2014

New research from Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business indicates that bias towards the effects of affirmative action exists in not only people opposed to it, but also in those who strongly endorse equality.

User comments : 0