A bizarre fossilized skull has recently been discovered somewhere in eastern Utah and scientists are now baffled by it. This 130-million-year-old skull might shed some light on the history of our planet, mainly because it belonged to an unusual reptilian-mammal creature. Experts have described the creature in a study which the journal Nature recently published. They named it Cifelliodon wahkarmoosuch, in honor of paleontologist Richard Cifelli. According to Adam Huttenlocker, the leader of the study, they have now managed to recognize a new and cosmopolitan group of mammal relatives. This near-complete skull proves that we still have much to learn about the early history of the Earth
This new Cifelliodon species belongs to an early branch of mammal ancestors that are now long extinct. Interesting enough, even if this animal was covered in fur and took good care of its babies, it actually laid eggs. Today, there are only two types of such mammals alive, the spiny anteater and the platypus species. Paleontologists may now have an idea about how mammals actually evolved and spread while dinosaurs were still roaming the planet. Moreover, it seems that the ancient supercontinent Pangea continued to divide for 15 million years. This is a lot more than experts previously thought.
The unusual reptilian-mammal that laid eggs
It seems that the mammal migration, along with their relatives, kept on going during the early Cretaceous period, which means about 145 million to 101 million years ago. Adam Huttenlocker also says that experts thought for a long time that mammals from the Cretaceous period had a similar anatomy but ecologically different. Thanks to this new discovery, we now know that was not the case.
The Cifelliodon was about the same size as a small hare, weighing about 2.5 pounds. It had teeth like bats and probably also ate plants. Utah is actually a heaven for fossil lovers because many remains have been discovered there.
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