Three extinct mammals found in Wyoming that were part of the post-dinosaur revolution – .

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

Paleontologists have unearthed a litter of ancient mammal bones amidst the arid bushes of southern Wyoming. Three of these fossil finds belong to previously unknown species, and all of the animals at the site paint a different picture of mammal evolution following the demise of dinosaurs after the devastating impact of an asteroid 66 years ago. million years ago.

The history of mammals at the site dates back to the earliest volcanoes – in fact hundreds of thousands of years after the asteroid impacted Earth. The three new species Miniconus jeanninaein one Conacodone Hitininery, in one pure honey; They are all in part named after the paleontologists who excavated them, although the latter is also referred to as Beorn, a figure of 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 made it possible to understand that mammals always recovered and did not diversify quickly after extinction. Collectively, Madeleine Atberry, a paleontologist at the University of Colorado, said in an email. New study Description of 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 another story,” Ateberry added. It has more diversity than expected for this time period, which suggests that we can’t really generalize about mammal recovery after dinosaur extinction. ”

Site coordination.

Stress fractures in the soil near the southern Wyoming site.
photo: Madeleine Atbury
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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 Hitinerie. now immersed in The dry sandstone area was a floodplain during the time of these ancient mammals and was covered with entangled currents and rivers. During a decade of work at the site, paleontologists have found more than 420 mammal fossils. The number of fossils that ended up in the same location remains uncertain, although one of the team’s theories is that parts of the river would remove sediment and drive away the animals (living and dead) that would eventually turn into fossils.

The three new finds are cuttlefish, an ancient species of mammal 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 led to the extinction of dinosaurs, taking advantage of the absence of large animals to develop new sources of food 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 through the hundreds of bones that have gathered there. I hope so plus long ancient mammals, like Looks like our closest cousins ​​wasted no time breeding and daring Once you take care of the dinosaur masters.

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