Three Extinct Mammals Found in Wyoming That Were Part of the Post-Dinosaur Revolution

Three Extinct Mammals Found in Wyoming That Were Part of the Post-Dinosaur Revolution

Left to right: Conacodon hettingeri, Miniconus jeanninae, and Beornus honeyi.

Paleontologists have unearthed bedding of ancient mammal bones amid the arid bushlands of southern Wyoming. Three of those fossil finds belong to previously unknown species, and all the animals at the site paint a different picture of mammal evolution in the wake of the dinosaurs’ demise after the devastating asteroid impact 66 million years ago.

The history of the mammals at the site dates back to the oldest volcanoes – actually hundreds of thousands of years after the asteroid impacted Earth. The three new species Miniconus jeanninaein a Conacodone Hitininery, in a purenos honey; They are all partly named after the paleontologists who excavated them, although the latter is also called Beorn, a figure in by the hobbit can pose-turned into a bear. B. Sharpen It is the largest of the three new species, roughly the size of a cat. The species was distinguished by its lower jaw and teeth.

“Previous studies of North American mammals from the first 320,000 years after the mass extinction found small mammals ranging in size from mice to mice that were somewhat generalized in molar morphology. This led to the understanding that mammals were still recovering and not diversifying rapidly after the extinction event.” Collectively, Madeleine Atberry, a paleontologist at the University of Colorado, said in an email. New study Description of the fossils, published in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology.

“However, the earliest Paleocene fauna of the Great Dividing Basin in Wyoming, where our new mammal species belong, is a different story,” added Ateberry. It has more diversity than we would expect for this period, suggesting that we can’t really generalize about mammals’ recovery after the extinction of the dinosaurs. “

Site coordination.

Stress fractures in the ground near the southern Wyoming site.
Photo: Madeleine Atbury

The excavation site was excavated between 2001 and 2011 by Jim Honey, Jeannine Honey and Malcolm McKenna, appointed by Robert Hettinger of the United States.s. Geologist reconnaissance, whose name was recently added to the described file Conacodone Hitininery. now immersed in The dry sandstone area was a floodplain during the period of these ancient mammals and was covered by tangled currents and rivers. Over a decade of work at the site, paleontologists have found more than 420 mammal fossils. The number of fossils that ended up in one place remains uncertain, although one of the team’s theory is that parts of the river would remove sediment and hunt animals (both live and dead) that would eventually turn into fossils.

All three new finds are cuttlefish, an ancient mammal species that eventually gave birth to its offspring with modern ungulates: animals like camels, hippos, horses, and rhinos. otbere said: in the current situation The diversity of these new species illustrates how mammals gradually drove the extinction of the dinosaurs, taking advantage of the absence of large animals to develop new food sources and expand into new environments.

It is likely that more species will be described from fossil deposits – paleontologists have not yet had time to sort out the hundreds of bones that gathered there. I hope so longer ancient mammals, such as Looks like our closest cousins ​​didn’t waste any time on breeding and daring Once you take care of the dinosaur masters.

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