Ancient Arboreal Mammal Discovered at Root of Carnivore Family Tree
A small, tree-dwelling mammal is the ancestor of lions, tigers, bears, and other fierce modern carnivores now found around the globe.
Pouncing lions, fish-swallowing seals, and even your bone-chewing family dog can all trace their roots back to a small, tree-dwelling ancestor. Bones unearthed from a 55-million-year-old fossil trove have revealed a diminutive creature at or near the root of today's formidable lineage of carnivorous mammals.
Paleontologist Floréal Solé of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and a team of colleagues recently described more than 250 new teeth, jaw, and ankle bone specimens of Dormaalocyon latouri, named for the Belgian locality of Dormaal where the fossil was first found in a site long famed for early Eocene epoch remains.
Fossilized jaw bones and teeth, including baby teeth, provide valuable evidence of the ancient animal's taste for flesh. According to