The remains of an ancient animal shed light on origin of mammals

A photo from open sources

Recently in China have been discovered well preserved remains of the ancient ancestors of mammals. Scientists suggested that they are the progenitors of people. These animals (Megaconus mammaliaformis) lived about 165 million years back to the dinosaur era. Their remains are tremendous luck for scientists, because they allow you to explore the path of evolution mammals, looking at the earliest stage of their development. Before so far, information about these animals has been rather scarce, however the found skeleton with the remains of fabric and wool suggests that these animals were not as primitive as previously thought. Paleontologist at the University of Bonn in Germany Thomas Martin is sure this species was perfectly adapted to the environment, had relatively flat teeth in relation to the jaw, which makes it one of the earliest herbivores in the world. Wool found on fossil animal, has a different density and color: on the back it darker and denser, and on the stomach – soft and light. Probably, the hairline appeared to keep warm, and this indicates a rapid metabolism of this species, which is typical for modern rodents. Scientists have calculated the body weight of the animal – he amounted to about 250 grams. The ratio of the size of his legs to the rest parts of the body suggests that the animal could not jump – its the walk was more like the movement of a modern hedgehog or armadillo. To avoid predator attacks, including early dinosaurs, these animals held in groups. They lived in the wet the climate of an evergreen rainforest near ancient lakes, in one of which, in fact, the student studied today drowned representative of this species. Fine-grained silt at the bottom of the lake, consisting mainly from volcanic ash, perfectly preserved remains fossil and allowed scientists to take a fresh look at secrets and riddles of the prehistoric world.

Translation by Sergey Vasilenkov


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