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Stasis: Mammal predates dino doom, now said at risk

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solenodon/Taras Oleksyk, Yashira Afanador

From ScienceDaily:

The University of Illinois and University of Puerto Rico have completely sequenced the mitochondrial genome for the Hispaniolan solenodon, filling in the last major branch of placental mammals on the tree of life.

The study, published in Mitochondrial DNA, confirmed that the venomous mammal diverged from all other living mammals 78 million years ago, long before an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs.

“It’s just impressive it’s survived this long,” said co-first author Adam Brandt, a postdoctoral researcher at Illinois. “It survived the asteroid; it survived human colonization and the rats and mice humans brought with them that wiped out the solenodon’s closest relatives.”

That is why it is endangered now, researchers say.

While the solenodon is venomous and resembles a “giant rat with Freddy Krueger claws” (according to Roca), it evolved in the absence of carnivores. Today, it is threatened by cats and dogs introduced by humans as well as habitat loss. More.

Talk about stasis! If the solenodon ends up surviving only under human protection, it will be one of the few instances of a very ancient life form that (almost) went extinct for a reason we can clearly identify.

See also: Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen

New poisonous mammal? Better read the fine print

and

Lazarus species: Animal we thought were extinct

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One Reply to “Stasis: Mammal predates dino doom, now said at risk

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    Wait a minute. hIstory first.
    I read LONG AGO about the solenodon being a claimed ancient living fossil.
    It was known before this gene trail assertions THAT it was different.
    In reality it simply was known to be unlike other mammals and possibly types like it were found in fossils from way back.
    There is no reason to say genes show its heritage.
    The genes only show what they show. Its different.
    The differences are easily seen as indeed a remnant of creatures that survived or simply creatures changing as needed. Just like people changing colours as needed. Suddenly.
    A YEC creationist should/would predict also this rat thing would have different dna. Just different. Its not credible to track backwards using dna and make crazy claims about them outliving/living with dinos and all that.
    NAW.

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