Research NewsPaleontology

Will Fossil From Down Under Upend Mammal Evolution?

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Science  21 Nov 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5342, pp. 1401-1402
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5342.1401

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The discovery of the oldest mammal fossil yet found in Australia, reported in this issue of Science (p. 1438), could cause researchers to rethink some long-held views about the early history of mammalian evolution. If the suspicions of its discoverers are correct, the 115-million-year-old, shrew-sized creature may be a placental mammal--one that nourishes its developing embryo within the mother's uterus. That would put placental mammals down under 110 million years earlier than believed.