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Paleontology: The 75-million-year-old cave contains fossil rodents snuggled together



Cuddling may be older than we think, as scientists have unearthed the remains of a 75.5 million-year-old cave containing fossils of the snooping rodents.

American paleontologists made the discovery – the oldest evidence of social behavior among mammals – at a remarkable dinosaur nesting site called Egg Mountain, in Montana.

Small mammals – named ‘Filikomys primaevus’, meaning ‘young, friendly mouse’ – represent a new genus of the so-called multifibles.

Previously, it was thought that social behavior first appeared in mammals after a mass extinction caused by asteroids that killed the dinosaurs.

Furthermore, it is also thought that it is largely confined to the Placenta ̵

1; the group in which the mother brings her fetus to a later stage before birth.

However, this finding – multigenerational and burrowing teams – broadens our notion of how sociality develops.

Cuddling may be older than we think, as scientists have unearthed the remains of a 75.5 million-year-old cave containing fossils of the snooping rodents.  In the photo, an artist's impression of a social group consisting of Filikomys primaevus nesting in their common cave

Cuddling may be older than we think, as scientists have unearthed the remains of a 75.5 million-year-old cave containing fossils of the snooping rodents. In the photo, an artist’s impression of a social group of Filikomys primaevus nesting in their common cave

“These fossils are game changers,” said author Gregory Wilson Mantilla of the University of Washington and Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

He added: ‘As paleontologists work to reconstruct the biology of mammals, we are often stuck staring at individual teeth and possibly a rolling jaw. into the river.

“But here we have many nearly complete skulls and skeletons preserved in exactly where the animals live.”

‘We can now reliably look at how mammals actually interact with dinosaurs and other animals that live at this point.’

In their study, Professor Wilson Mantilla and colleagues analyzed the fossil remains of 22 F. primaevus – most of which were found aggregated into groups of 2 to 5 individuals.

In fact, 13 of the specimen were found in a single 323 square feet (30 square meters) of rock area – and the groups contained mixtures of both adults and infants, suggesting the findings are not only great. for parents and their young friends.

Based on the properties of the surrounding rock, the preservation of fossils and ‘shoulders and elbows of our strong research team concluded that the species of mammals live in the cave.

The remaining remains represent the most complete mammal fossils ever from the Mesozoic – a period spanning 252–66 million years ago – of North America.

The small mammal species - dubbed 'Filikomys primaevus', which means 'rat youthful, friendly' - represent a new genus in the so-called stranded animals.  In the photo, the fossil remains of two adult Filikomys primaevus and one young

The small mammal – named ‘Filikomys primaevus’, which translates to ‘youthful, friendly mouse’ – represents a new genus of so-called multituberculates. In the photo, the fossil remains of two adult Filikomys primaevus and one young

Luke Weaver of the University of Washington

Luke Weaver of the University of Washington

Article author and biologist Luke Weaver, also at the University of Washington, commented: “It’s crazy to complete this article while the home order is in effect.

‘Here we are all trying our best to distance and isolated society, and I am writing about how mammals were socially interacting their way back when dinosaurs were still roaming the Earth, ‘he added.

‘It’s really powerful, I think, to see how deep social interaction originates in mammals.’

‘Because humans are such social animals, we tend to think that sociability is somehow unique to us, or at least for loved ones who evolved near us, but now Now we can see that social behavior goes back further in the mammal family tree. ‘

‘Multituberculates is one group of mammals most ancient, and they have been extinct for 35 million years, but in the Late Cretaceous they are interacting in groups similar to what you would see in ground squirrels modern nowadays.’

The full findings of the study have been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

American paleontologists made the discovery - the oldest evidence of social behavior among mammals - at a famous dinosaur nesting site called Egg Mountain, at Montana

American paleontologists made the discovery – the oldest evidence of social behavior among mammals – at a famous dinosaur nesting site called Egg Mountain, at Montana


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