1 Tahrcountry Musings: China – New Clues to the Evolution of Mammals

Friday, January 13, 2006

China – New Clues to the Evolution of Mammals

Discovery of a small fossilised animal that walked like a platypus but looked like a shrew is providing important new clues to the evolution of early mammals. The discovery was made by paleontologists Gang Li and Zhe-Xi Luo in the province of Liaoning in northeast China. The insect-eating mammal lived alongside dinosaurs some 125 million years ago. Measuring 10 to12 centimetres long and weighing 15 to 20 grams, the shrew like creature had a thick coat of fur. The animal has been given the name Akidolestes. Akidolestes strengthens the case of Asia being the place where the main mammal groups first originated. Details appear in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

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