Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bug-eating animal may be earliest ancestor to mammals

  • Print

A 0.2-kilogram, furry-tailed animal that probably ate bugs may have been the earliest ancestor of mammals, a group of more than 5,100 species including humans, according to the largest-ever study of the group's ancestry.

Researchers mapped genetic data with fossil evidence, creating a new family tree with the hypothetical ancestor, according to a study in the journal Science. They focused on placental mammals, such as humans, dogs and cats, that develop a placenta to nourish the young before a live birth. Scientists have debated the time period when these mammals came into existence. Fossil evidence suggested that after the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event when the dinosaurs died, mammals quickly evolved to fill now-empty ecological niches. Genetic data suggested mammals may have evolved earlier. The two were combined for the finding published Thursday, which uses a data set more than 10 times larger than any previous study of mammalian anatomical relationships. "There are many more species to add, and I want to continue to look for fossils that will fit on this tree and tell us more about it, either on the dinosaur or mammal side," said Maureen O'Leary, a study author and paleontologist at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

-- Bloomberg News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 9, 2013 A23

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

City Beautiful trailer: How architecture shaped Winnipeg's DNA

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • KEN GIGLIOTTI  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / July 23 2009 - 090723 - Bart Kives story - Harry Lazarenko Annual River Bank Tour - receding water from summer rains and erosion  damage by flood  and ice  during spring flooding -  Red River , Lyndale Dr. damage to tree roots , river bank damage  , high water marks after 2009 Flood - POY
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- WINTER FILE. Snowboarder at Stony Mountain Ski Hill. November 14, 2006.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you get out and vote for a new mayor and council?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google