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"Gigantic" early mammal
The latest find from the Yixian formation to challenge the conventional wisdom,
a meter-long carnivore comparable to a honey badger or a Tasmanian devil.
Previously the only evidence that Mesozoic mammals might reach such sizes were
a handful of teeth and other fragmentary remains. A team from the American
Museum of Natural History and IVPP describe the beast in Nature. They have a
virtually complete skeleton of the big guy, preserved in three dimensions, and
a pretty good specimen of a smaller one with Psittacosaur bones in its belly.
My account for New Scientist is on line at
It's a triconodont, so it's not on the main line to any extant mammals, but it
makes you wonder what else was out there. Really neat stuff, and great work.
Jeff Hecht, science & technology writer
Boston Correspondent: New Scientist magazine
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