Tech & Science: Ancient fossil offers clues as to when mammals learned how to eat - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Tech & ScienceAncient fossil offers clues as to when mammals learned how to eat

07:05  22 july  2019
07:05  22 july  2019 Source:   bgr.com

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Determining when mammals developed their unique style of eating has been a topic of discussion among scientists for some time, and a new fossil discovery is offering some big clues . The creature, known as Microdocodon gracilis, was an ancient mammal separated from the modern age by 165

Fossilized fish surrounding M. mammaliaformissuggest that it died in an ancient lake. The fossil owes its exceptional preservation to the extremely fine-grained Mammal or not? The second animal was able to climb trees and has been identified as a mammal , though the authors have classified it within

Ancient fossil offers clues as to when mammals learned how to eat © Provided by Penske Media Corporation Capture

We humans tend to take our ability to chew and swallow for granted, but as mammals we actually have a pretty complicated system of bones and muscles helping us tackle our pizza slices and steaks. Determining when mammals developed their unique style of eating has been a topic of discussion among scientists for some time, and a new fossil discovery is offering some big clues.

The creature, known as Microdocodon gracilis, was an ancient mammal separated from the modern age by 165 million years. Going back that far, you might expect that its style of eating was quite a bit different than our own, but a new study says that’s definitely not the case.

Scientists discover a 500-MILLION-year-old fossil off the coast of Australia - describing the creature as the 'T-Rex' of the ocean

Scientists discover a 500-MILLION-year-old fossil off the coast of Australia - describing the creature as the 'T-Rex' of the ocean The 500 million-year-old fossils were discovered at Emu Bay Shale in South Australia's Kangaroo Island by researchers from the University of Adelaide, and the South Australian Museum. The creature has a terrifying physique with 'crushing' legs and a 'shredding' spine made for eating and killing, with scientists describing the crustacean as the 'T-Rex of the trilobites'. They named it the 'Redlichia rex', in tribute to the dinosaur.

The fossil had been collected by Jim Burns, curator of Quaternary mammals at the PMA a few years earlier near Edmonton, Alberta, in gravels that date to before the last ice age (older "Those bears belong to a genetic population thought to be extinct in North America for as much as 35,000 years."

Ancient whale fossil helps reveal birthplace of humanity. A fossil lost for nearly 40 years is offering clues as to when and how ancient climate change in Africa spurred human It was unearthed some 460 miles inland, suggesting the sea mammal had gotten lost and swam up a freshwater river system.

The remains of the tiny rodent-like animal were preserved as fossils so perfectly that they shocked researchers. Among those remains was the creature’s U-shaped hyoid bones, which show strong similarities to those in today’s mammals.

These unique hyoid bones are what give mammals, including humans, the ability to chew food and move it into a position to be swallowed.  Other animals with less complex hyoid bones, like reptiles, for instance, have to bite and tear off large chunks of food to swallow or even just swallow their entire prey whole.

“It is a pristine, beautiful fossil. I was amazed by the exquisite preservation of this tiny fossil at the first sight. We got a sense that it was unusual, but we were puzzled about what was unusual about it,” Zhe-Xi Luo, senior author of the paper published in Science, said in a statement. “After taking detailed photographs and examining the fossil under a microscope, it dawned on us that this Jurassic animal has tiny hyoid bones much like those of modern mammals.”

This discovery suggests that at least some mammals already had complex hyoid bone structures during the Jurassic period, and offers researchers a better idea of how far they’ll have to look to find when mammals learned their current way of eating.

Parc Jurassic: Huge dinosaur fossil dug up in south France.
The enormous thigh bone of a plant-eating dinosaur from the Jurassic period has been dug up in the south of France. Palaeontologists at the excavation site in Angeac-Charente have spared no expense in their pursuit of such fossils over the years, and have made more than 7,500 discoveries from 40 different species since 2010.

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