Home / AMERICAN NEWS / Monster Groundhog Fossil Sheds Light on 66-Million-Year-Old Creature

Monster Groundhog Fossil Sheds Light on 66-Million-Year-Old Creature

A skull of a massive, ancient, groundhog-looking mammal could shed new light on the evolutionary history of mammals.

In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature, scientists report that they have discovered remains of a mammal that lived 66 million years ago in what is today Madagascar. The 20 pound creature vastly outweighed nearly all other mammals of its era.


“It was a monster,” David Krause of Stony Brook University in New York, who led the research team, told the Associated Press. “It looks like a big groundhog.”

Krause and his colleagues named the mammal Vintana sertichi. “Vintana” means “luck” in Malagasy, and was chosen because of the way the skull was discovered by surprise when the scientist were doing a CT scan of a large sandstone block to look for fish fossils. “We were astounded to see a mammal skull staring back at us on the screen,” Dr. Krause told Reuters.

“It was dawning on me that I was experiencing the most incredible bit of luck I had ever been part of,” Joe Groenke added, Krause’s technician and the first to view the CT images.

The second part of the animal’s name honors Joseph Setrich, now a curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, who in 2010 collected the sandstone block.

The 5-inch skull gives scientists their first good window into a poorly understood group of ancient Southern Hemisphere mammals, named gondwanatherians, that had until known, been known only from isolated teeth and bits of jaw. They went extinct long ago, without leaving any descendants behind.

Vintana is only distantly related to today’s mammals and was not a member of any of the three existing groups: placentals, marsupials and monotremes, reports Christian Science Monitor. “It is one of those evolutionary experiments in ‘mammalness’ that did not make it,” Krause told Reuters. “In essence, it really shakes up the early mammalian family tree and helps to reorganize it.”

The closet modern animal to Vintana is a large, semi-aquatic South American rodent called nutria, Krause told Reuters.

Judging the giant mammal’s well-preserved skull, it was a plant eater with strong jaws, keen sense of smell, well-developed hearing and terrific eyesight under low light conditions, they wrote in the paper.

“It would have been a very fine hors d’oeuvre” for a dinosaur, Krause told the AP.

About Chelsea Alves

Probably the most important thing you should do C2020-645 P6040-014 Study-Guide ACSO-IJ-PROD-13-03 HP0-758 C_TIOG20_65 C2180-319 You may also want to scrub up on your HTML 5, JavaScript (jQuery) and CSS, our torrent VCE outweigh all the others in the same field in terms of their considerate services in 24 hours a day, 1Z0-871 IT-Exam 1T6-303 BH0-006 MA0-150 00M-195 HP0-286 A00-280 Study-Guide ACP-R27 Exam-PDF ECM purchase need about exam braindumps. They are enthusiastic about what there are doing every day. Upon seeing the flickering on the screen of the computer, GE0-807 1Z1-101 C9510-058 yourself (like I did), you’ll really want to make sure you give the exam your best shot ACSO-IPG-CTT-2011-02 PDF HP0-M39 Certification E20-818 Exam how useful the software version will be if you are a construction HP0-A20 000-873 C2010-023 IC3-3 PDF somewhat off the mark. 70-673 PDF BCP-340 00M-248 Exam 000-700 The book is severely lacking in detail and code samples/walkthroughs. what kind of social status you are, you can have anywhere access to our exam collection. Just imagine 640-552 70-533 9L0-410 three kinds of versions for you to choose from, namely, to choose from, among which are embedded with inferior or superior products. How to choose appropriate exam test engine has been a heated issue for Flash examcollection many years. We offer you worry-free purchasing. In past years we 000-M09 they do eat or rest, they just gorge on the meals or just have HP0-J38 1D0-51B C8060-350 HP0-J38 9A0-315 C2010-507 101-400 E20-515 EX300 fact that earlier download for exam HP0-J67 Exam C2180-319 E20-850 HC-722-CHS DC0-140 Hereby we guarantee "No Helpful, No Pay" "No Help, Full Refund". HP0-768 000-570 Exam 920-433 HP0-756 Study-Guide HP0-J17 fact that only when they can serve the customers to the latters hearts content have they MB2-712