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proto-mammals



hi all.  i am curious about something i saw a while ago.  are there such
things as protomammals?  these creatures that i remember looked like, well,
like half dinosaur/half mammal.  is this possible?  did mammals evolve from
dinosaurs?  i know that sounds stupid, because they must have evolved from
something that looked relatively dinosaurish, but i have some sort of
mental block at that point.  all illustrations and descriptions seem to
only tell us about these tiny mammals that ran around while these big ol'
dinosaurs clunked around.  so . . . my two questions:

1.  is proto-mammal an accurate term and if so, what sort of creature does
it describe?

2.  could someone give me some explanations of how mammals evolved?

3.  is this inappropriate for this list?

[ Since its inception the charter for this list has specified a fair
  amount of latitude in matters paleontological since people
  interested in dinosaurs are generally also interested in things such
  as therapsids.  I suspect we'll get a lot of responses to these
  questions because they're basic enough for a lot of people to feel
  comfortable responding.  Consider #3 answered, though.  -- MR ]

thanks!

pheret

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