Monday, 9 September 2013

Dino-Era Mammal Had Advanced Design, New Research Suggests

A rendering of a dino-era mammal by Robert Bruce Horsfall. Image source: Scott, W.B. 1913. A History of Land Mammals in the Western Hemisphere. New York: The Macmillan Company.

Joel Kontinen

If evolution were true, dino-era mammals should be small primitive creatures that were just beginning to evolve the traits characteristic of modern mammals.

A paper published in Science on the discovery of a Jurassic mammal called Rugosodon eurasiaticus suggests that that they were by no means primitive.

According to Science Daily,

This fossil find -- the oldest ancestor in the multituberculate family tree -- represents a newly discovered species known as Rugosodon eurasiaticus. The nearly complete skeleton provides critical insights into the traits that helped such multituberculates thrive in their day. For example, the fossil reveals teeth that were adapted to gnawing plants and animals alike, as well as ankle joints that were highly adept at rotation.”

It’s the same story once again. As a new fossil is discovered, it is found that it is very well designed for a particular environment.

Zhe-Xi Luo, a co-author of the paper said: "The tree-climbing multituberculates and the jumping multituberculates had the most interesting ankle bones, capable of 'hyper-back-rotation' of the hind feet."

It was definitely not primitive.


Fossil of History's Most Successful Mammal: Prehistoric 'Rodent' May Have Set the Stage for Life in Trees, Herbivorous Diets. Science Daily. 15 August, 2013.