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“Crazy beast” from 66 million years ago finally identified


And it’s not what was expected:

In 1999, researchers uncovered a 66-million-year-old fossil of a bizarre mammal in Madagascar. The creature was about the size of an opossum and may have looked more like a badger or a beaver—but it’s the ancestor of none of them. The animal’s anatomy was so confounding, researchers named it Adalatherium hui, using a Malagasy word for “crazy” and the Greek word for “beast.” …

Adalatherium’s teeth are the strangest part of the fossil. Its front teeth are long and curved like a rodent’s, but otherwise its teeth are unlike any modern animal’s, paleontologist Guillermo Rougier says in a statement. Rougier specializes in using teeth to classify mammals, so the strange fossil presented a challenge.

Theresa Machemer , “66-Million-Year-Old ‘Crazy Beast’ Finds a Taxonomical Home” at Smithsonian Magazine

It’s now considered a member of an extinct group, Gondwanatherians. Paper. (open access)

It lived at the time that the continent Gondwana was breaking up:

Its discovery challenges previous assumptions that mammals were generally very small – the size of mice – at this point in their evolutionary history.

Researchers say this individual animal weighed 3kg (6.6lbs) and had not reached its full adult size.

Reuters, “‘Crazy beast’ lived among last of dinosaurs” at BBC
It actually looks quite cute. Seversky
Looks like it would make the perfect roadkill... EDTA
as to:
Its discovery challenges previous assumptions that mammals were generally very small – the size of mice – at this point in their evolutionary history. Researchers say this individual animal weighed 3kg (6.6lbs) and had not reached its full adult size.
The Darwinian presumption that mammals started out small and gradually grew larger has been known to be wrong for a while now, As the following article notes, "some non-therian lineages achieved surprisingly large body sizes,,,"
"What Sparked the Mammal Explosion? - September 3, 2015 Excerpt: Mammals first appear in the fossil record at about the same time as the earliest dinosaurs (approx. 220 million years ago),,, Mesozoic mammals were long portrayed as tiny, shrew-like creatures, unable to diversify due to severe competition and predation from dinosaurs and other reptiles. However, discoveries in the past two decades have greatly expanded the known diversity of Mesozoic mammals, revealing the existence of specialised gliders, climbers and burrowers, semi-aquatic forms and even badger-sized carnivores that ate small dinosaurs.,, Evidence of extensive ecological differences has been found even between closely-related species, and quantitative analyses of the skulls and skeletons of Mesozoic mammals suggest a diverse range of diets and locomotor modes,,, This period,, also broadly coincides with peaks in morphological disparity (as measured by the average morphological difference between contemporaneous species),, Early mammals, despite living in the shadows of the dinosaurs, were diverse and successful.,, These finds extend the early mammal repertoire to include digging, climbing, gliding, and swimming and show that some non-therian lineages achieved surprisingly large body sizes,,, http://crev.info/2015/09/what-sparked-the-mammal-explosion/ Earliest-known arboreal and subterranean ancestral mammals discovered - February 12, 2015 Excerpt: The fossils of two interrelated ancestral mammals, newly discovered in China, suggest that the wide-ranging ecological diversity of modern mammals had a precedent more than 160 million years ago.,,, “We consistently find with every new fossil that the earliest mammals were just as diverse in both feeding and locomotor adaptations as modern mammals,” Agilodocodon, which lived roughly 165 million years ago, had hands and feet with curved horny claws and limb proportions that are typical for mammals that live in trees or bushes. It is adapted for feeding on the gum or sap of trees, with spade-like front teeth to gnaw into bark. This adaptation is similar to the teeth of some modern New World monkeys.,,, Agilodocodon also had well-developed, flexible elbows and wrist and ankle joints that allowed for much greater mobility, all characteristics of climbing mammals. "The finger and limb bone dimensions of Agilodocodon match up with those of modern tree-dwellers,,, Docofossor, which lived around 160 million years ago, had a skeletal structure and body proportions strikingly similar to the modern day African golden mole. It had shovel-like fingers for digging, short and wide upper molars typical of mammals that forage underground, and a sprawling posture indicative of subterranean movement.,,, Early mammals were once thought to have limited ecological opportunities to diversify during the dinosaur-dominated Mesozoic era. However, Agilodocodon, Docofossor and numerous other fossils — including Castorocauda, a swimming, fish-eating mammaliaform described by Luo and colleagues in 2006 — provide strong evidence that ancestral mammals adapted to wide-ranging environments despite competition from dinosaurs. Luo said. “These new fossils help demonstrate that early mammals did indeed have a wide range of ecological diversity. It appears dinosaurs did not dominate the Mesozoic landscape as much as previously thought.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150212141447.htm Dinosaur Found in Mammal's Belly - Hillary Mayell - January 12, 2005 Excerpt: Early mammals were not only bigger than previously thought—some were carnivores and hunted small dinosaurs for dinner. Scientists in China have uncovered the fossil remains of two mammals that lived around 130 million years ago. The finds will revolutionize current thinking about life during the Mesozoic era (248 million to 65 million years ago), a time when both dinosaurs and mammals arose.,,, ,,,As little as two decades ago, schools taught that the dinosaurs ruled the Earth from 248 million years ago until some still-unknown catastrophic event caused their extinction around 65 million years ago.,,, Mammals were not thought to have grown much bigger than rats until after the dinosaurs were gone.,,, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/01/0112_050112_dino_eater_2.html Giant fossil “groundhog” clue to early mammal evolution? - Nov. 10, 2014 Excerpt: The skull is huge, measuring almost five inches long, twice the size of the previously largest known mammalian skull from the entire Age of Dinosaurs of the southern supercontinent of Gondwana.,,, Vintana was a super heavyweight, estimated to have had a body mass of about 20 pounds, twice or even three times the size of an adult groundhog.,,, https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/evolution/giant-fossil-groundhog-clue-to-early-mammal-evolution/
This 'larger than expected' pattern is not limited to just mammals
Researchers say larger size is a genuine pattern in evolution, not neutral drift - February 21, 2015 Excerpt: The research also found that the increase in body size that has occurred since animals first appeared in the fossil record around 550 million years ago is not due to all animal lineages steadily growing bigger, but rather to the diversification of groups of organisms that were already larger than other groups early in the history of animal evolution. “That’s also something we didn’t know before,” Payne said. “For reasons that we don’t completely understand, the classes with large body size appear to be the ones that over time have become differentially more diverse.” Corals and dinosaurs seem to follow Cope’s rule, for example, but birds and insects do not.,,, the study included nearly 75 percent of marine fossils (17,000 genera) over the last 542 million years, and,,, A pattern soon became apparent: not all classes-groups of related species and genera-of animals trended toward larger size, but those that were bigger tended to become more diverse over time.,,, The team found that the neutral drift simulation could not explain the body size trends observed in the fossil record. “The degree of increase in both mean and maximum body size just aren’t well explained by neutral drift,” Heim said.,,, https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/evolution/researchers-say-larger-size-is-a-genuine-pattern-in-evolution-not-neutral-drift/
The fossil record simply does not reveal the gradualism that Darwinists had presupposed for mammals (nor for any other kind of animal or plant for that matter),
"Whales, bats, horses, primates, elephants, hares, squirrels, etc., all are as distinct at their first appearance as they are now. There is not a trace of a common ancestor, much less a link with any reptile, the supposed progenitor." Harold Coffin - Zoologist - "A View Of Life" https://books.google.com/books?id=ADHEU2wrXmAC&pg=PA180&lpg=PA180 “The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.” Paleontologist, Derek V. Ager (Department of Geology & Oceanography, University College, Swansea, UK) “It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution…This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.” G.G.Simpson – one of the most influential American Paleontologist of the 20th century “Given the fact of evolution, one would expect the fossils to document a gradual steady change from ancestral forms to the descendants. But this is not what the paleontologist finds. Instead, he or she finds gaps in just about every phyletic series.” – Ernst Mayr - Professor Emeritus, Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University “What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.” Robert L Carroll (born 1938) – vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians “In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.” Fossils and Evolution, TS Kemp – Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999 Bechly: In the Fossil Record, “Abrupt Appearances Are the Rule” - February 20, 2018, Excerpt: , you might think that the Cambrian explosion some 530 million years is a singularity, a freak of nature: the sudden appearance of phyla, major categories of life,,,, Yet Dr. Bechly points out that the problem posed by the Cambrian event is not singular but in fact has been repeated numerous times in the long history of life — sudden explosions, abrupt appearances, followed by diversification. Each should multiply the distress of Darwin’s defenders, if they are honest with themselves about it. In a chapter co-authored with philosopher of science Stephen Meyer in the recent book Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique (pg. 340-352), Bechly details 19 such “explosions.” As he observes, in the fossil record, “Abrupt appearances are the rule.” Each such event poses the same challenge to Darwinian thinking that the Cambrian explosion does. https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/bechly-in-the-fossil-record-abrupt-appearances-are-the-rule/ Conflicting Evidence for Common Ancestry from the Fossil Record (Dr. Gunter Bechly) – 2018 video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcyOIDIZum4 Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head - July 30, 2013 Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form. Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories. ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: "This pattern, known as 'early high disparity', turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn't a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.",,, Author Martin Hughes, continued: "Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on. Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: "A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,, - per physorg
Psalm 50:10-11 For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.
The article's headline is disappointing. It might be crazy to taxonomists, but it's pretty much a bog-standard mammal. If I saw one of these sneaking through my yard and "walking paradoxically", I'd just think SKUNK! polistra

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