News of the WeekPaleontology

Fossil Offers a Glimpse Into Mammals' Past

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Science  26 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5410, pp. 1989-1990
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5410.1989a

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A paleontologist from the National Geological Museum of China has unearthed the world's oldest complete mammal fossil, dating back at least 120 million years. In this week's issue of Nature, the researcher and his colleagues conclude that the fossil, a rat-sized chimera with mammalian front legs and splayed reptilian hindlegs, is a close relative to the common ancestor of all mammals alive today.