Fossils of oldest mammal ancestor discovered in UK

Nov 9, 2017 10:19 IST
Fossils of oldest mammal ancestor

Scientists have discovered the fossils of humankind’s oldest mammal ancestor that lived 145 million years ago. The study was published on 7 November 2017 in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

These fossils were two teeth of a tiny rat-like creature which were discovered by palaeontologists from the University of Portsmouth on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset in the United Kingdom (UK).

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The Study
• While going through the samples of earliest Cretaceous rocks, researchers came across two teeth which were later found out to be the remains of early Cretaceous mammals.
• The teeth are of a highly advanced type that can pierce, cut and crush food.
• The teeth represent two newfound species of early mammal resembling rats. The species of smaller animal is named as Durlstotherim Newmani after an amateur palaeontologist and pub owner Charlie Newman, who helped scientists collect the new specimens.
• While, the larger one was named Durlstodon.
• This mammal was the earliest in the line of animals that evolved into humans and branched off into creatures as diverse as blue whales and pigmy shrews.

Mammal teeth evolved over time, from very simple ones to molar-like ridged teeth which could tear, chew and grind food very easily.

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