Fossil Reveals Long-Lived Mammal Group's Secret
New Jurassic find in China provides fresh evidence of early mammal evolution.
Dubbed Rugosodon eurasiaticus, the creature bore a superficial resemblance to a small rat or a chipmunk and was an early member of the group of mammals known as multituberculates.
Its nearly complete skeleton was found in the province of Liaoning in northeastern China—the same region that has gained fame for its fossils of feathered dinosaurs such as Anchiornis.
"This multituberculate belongs to the basal-most family, so its one of the first lineages that ever came into existence for the whole multituberculate group. That's why we're so hot about it," said study leader Zhe-Xi Luo, a paleontologist and early-mammal expert at the University of Chicago.
Multituberculates lived from about 165 million years ago to about 35 million years ago. They scurried alongside