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Late Cretaceous fossil find is 60 million year old shrew-like mammal

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artist's depiction only

From “’Saber-Toothed Squirrel’: First Known Mammalian Skull from Late Cretaceous in South America” (ScienceDaily, Nov. 2, 2011), we learn:

Paleontologist Guillermo Rougier, Ph.D., professor of anatomical sciences and neurobiology at the University of Louisville, and his team have reported their discovery of two skulls from the first known mammal of the early Late Cretaceous period of South America. The fossils break a roughly 60 million-year gap in the currently known mammalian record of the continent and provide new clues on the early evolution of mammals.

Cronopio was shrew-sized, about 4-6 inches in length, and was an insectivore with a diet of the insects, grubs and other bugs of the time. It lived when giant dinosaurs roamed Earth — more than 100 million years ago — and made its home in a vegetated river plain.

The skulls reveal that Cronopio had extremely long canine teeth, a narrow muzzle and a short, rounded skull. “These first fossil remains of dryolestoids … give us a complete picture of the skull for the group,” John R. Wible, Ph.D., curator of mammals at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, said. “The new dryolestoid, Cronopio, is without a doubt one of the most unusual mammals that I have seen, extinct or living, with its elongate, compressed snout and oversized canine teeth. What it did with that unusual morphology perhaps may come to light with additional discoveries… .”

The squirrel moniker comes from Skrat, a “sabre-toothed” squirrel in Ice Age, in case you wondered. One somehow doubts Cronopio had many squirrelly habits.

A reader writes to say:

And interesting aspect that was omitted from ScienceDaily and mentioned in Nature was the unexpected fact that Cronopio is highly specialized. The ArsTechnica article put it this way:

Although Cronopio is older than other South American dryolestoids, it is far more specialized. Researchers are still working to put this new find in its proper ecological and historical context.

In other words, file this under “Evolutionary prediction falsified. More complex than thought. Stand by for postulation of ghost lineages.”

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Comments
GinoB, You are confused as your position doesn't have anything to do with science. Your position cannot muster a testable hypothesis and it cannot be tested. So go back to the Island of Dr Moreau....Joseph
November 6, 2011
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Joseph
Dude, You don’t have anything- absolutely nothing
You're right. Science has absolutely nothing that would be accepted in the twinkly shiny lavender-colored-sky world of Josephland.GinoB
November 6, 2011
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Dude, You don't have anything- absolutely nothing. So sure I will not accept that- no one would. I was right about "The Island of Dr Moreau"...Joseph
November 6, 2011
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Tell me mr coward, any chance of you ever presenting any positive evidence for your position
None that you'd understand or accept, no.GinoB
November 6, 2011
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GinoB, Yeah, YOUR position's "documentary" is "The Island of Dr Moreau. But anyway, given what I do know about evotards like you, I would you do really think "Ice Age" (all of them) are documentaries. Tell me mr coward, any chance of you ever presenting any positive evidence for your position?Joseph
November 6, 2011
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lars, thanks for suggesting that, but people can go from SD to the article if they like. Volunteer time simply does not permit the duplication. ;) That said, thanks much again for the note about putting the find in proper context. We'll add it.News
November 4, 2011
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I bet you thought it was a documentary too. Tell us Mr. Baraminologist, what 'kind' does this animal Cronopio belong to, and how did you tell?GinoB
November 4, 2011
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On second thought, maybe it's a prehistoric Merkat! -----Eocene
November 4, 2011
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Joseph: "Hey I saw that squirrel in “Ice Age”(s)…" ===== LOL! "Ice Age" = Squirrel No kidding! I still wonder weather Hollywood gets their ideas from Evolutionists or the other way around! -----Eocene
November 4, 2011
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Hey I saw that squirrel in "Ice Age"(s)...Joseph
November 4, 2011
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lars, thanks for heads-up and the linksUpright BiPed
November 4, 2011
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Interesting stuff. Suggestion: if we're going to link to and quote a PR source like SciencDaily, we should probably also reference a more reputable one. E.g. the Nature article while it's free. And interesting aspect that was omitted from ScienceDaily and mentioned in Nature was the unexpected fact that Cronopio is highly specialized. The ArsTechnica article put it this way:
Although Cronopio is older than other South American dryolestoids, it is far more specialized. Researchers are still working to put this new find in its proper ecological and historical context.
In other words, file this under "Evolutionary prediction falsified. More complex than thought. Stand by for postulation of ghost lineages."lars
November 4, 2011
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