New proto-mammal fossil sheds light on evolution of earliest mammals


 A newly discovered fossil reveals the evolutionary adaptations of a 165-million-year-old proto-mammal, providing evidence that traits such as hair and fur originated well before the rise of the first true mammals. The biological features of this ancient mammalian relative, named Megaconus mammaliaformis, are described by scientists from the University of Chicago in the Aug 8 issue of Nature.

"We finally have a glimpse of what may be the ancestral condition of all mammals, by looking at what is preserved in Megaconus. It allows us to piece together poorly understood details of the critical transition of modern mammals from pre-mammalian ancestors," said Zhe-Xi Luo, professor of organismal biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago.

Discovered in Inner Mongolia, China, Megaconus is one of the best-preserved fossils of the mammaliaform groups, which are long-extinct relatives to modern mammals. Dated to be around 165 million years old, Megaconus co-existed with feathered dinosaurs in the Jurassic era, nearly 100 million years before Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed Earth.

Written By: Science Daily
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  1. It looks a bit like a yellow weasel, an animal that rules the rat niche in cities in that part of China.

    Is not one of the tenets of evolution that there is granddaddy specimen of that animal that all humans share on their family tree, not just that species, but a particular animal? I need to re-read an explanation of why that has to be so.

  2. Oh my goodness, look at that, a transitional form – maybe there’s actually something to that evolution ‘theory’ after all…. 😎

  3. In reply to #2 by CdnMacAtheist:

    Oh my goodness, look at that, a transitional form – maybe there’s actually something to that evolution ‘theory’ after all…. 😎

    Oh come on!! It’s “only” a theory!

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