Saturday, October 21, 2006

 

Ancient mystery creature now named by researchers

Edmonton - For the first time, researchers at the University of Alberta have been able to put a name and a description to an ancient mammal that still defies classification.

The findings, published recently in the Journal of Paleontology provide the first and only comprehensive account of the creature, named Horolodectes sunae, for the unusual shape of the crowns of the teeth. Horolodectes lived about 60 million years ago, soon after the dinosaurs went extinct, in a period known for its rapid diversification of small mammals. Based on careful examination of tooth and jaw fragments that have been unearthed over the past 30 years, the U of A researchers have now determined Horolodectes was a small fur-bearing animal that measured 10 centimetres in length and, due to its powerful jaws, likely had a strong bite.

..."It had sharp crests on the teeth which formed blades, indicating it was likely carnivorous," said Craig Scott (homepage), a PhD candidate and lead author of the study.

[Science, Evolution, Research, Palaeontology]

Continued at "Researchers give name to ancient mystery creature"
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Based on "Horolodectes Sunae, An Enigmatic Mammal From The Late Paleocene Of Alberta, Canada": Abstract - Full Text currently available from here (open access)

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