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Re: CNN: mammals lived alongside dinosaurs
>There was a lot more speculation in the press articles and such than
>was contained in the original Nature article, which focused on the
>Madagascar discovery. I was not aware of a prevailing belief that
>mammals and dinosaurs did not coexist.
That clearly was the statement that misled reporters who didn't know any
I suspect Wyss had been asked too many times ( perhaps by the PR
department) why mammals didn't live in the Mesozoic, and the following
ended up in the release.
>"The most conspicuous and hence the most famous land animals of the
>Mesozoic Era were of course the dinosaurs," explained Wyss. "Less widely
> the fact that furry animals -- mammals -- and dinosaurs sprang on an
>evolutionary scene at about the same time; the two groups lived side by
>side for more than
> 100 million years."
> According to Wyss, two factors account for the popular misconception that
>mammals arose only after dinosaurs became extinct.
> "First, early mammals were all quite small, chipmunk-sized or smaller, so
>they don't grab the popular imagination the way their giant Mesozoic
> do," said Wyss.
> "Second, apart from very late in the Mesozoic, the fossil record of
>mammals has been extremely sparse," he said. These fossils are unlikely to
>be spotted in the
> field by the naked eye, one reason for the dearth of information.
> The finding of the teeth contradicts the widely-held idea that the
>subgroup of mammals encompassing most living forms (marsupials and
>placentals) came from the
> North. The teeth offer the first clear glimpse of mammalian evolution on
>the Southern continents during the mid-late Jurassic period, indicating a
> rather than a Northern origin for this mammal subgroup, as long assumed,
If I didn't know any better, I'd assume that was a common misconception.
Ah, the joys of press releases. <g>