Paleontologists discover fossil of bizarre groundhog-like mammal on Madagascar

Paleontologists discover fossil of bizarre groundhog-like mammal on Madagascar


NARRATOR: An NSF-funded research team from Stony Brook University has uncovered the first skull remains of a previously very poorly known group of mammals. The animal likely resembled an enormous modern-day groundhog and lived alongside dinosaurs. DAVID KRAUSE: This new animal Vintana, what they call Vintana, belongs to a group of mammals known as Gondwanatherians. Gondwanatherians before were known only from a handful of isolated teeth. NARRATOR: The species, named Vintana Sertichi, was discovered on Madagascar. The skull measures five inches long, and is twice the size of the largest known mammal skull from the age of the dinosaurs of the southern hemisphere. The new species was a large-eyed, agile herbivore that also had keen senses of hearing and smell. Team leader David Krause feels this discovery gives scientists some important new insights into early mammalian evolution and diversity. DAVID KRAUSE: Now that we’ve found Vintana, and found that it is such a bizarre animal, it really shows us that we know so very little about mammalian evolution during the Mesozoic and especially on the southern hemisphere. What this does is spur me, and hopefully others to look on southern landmasses for more mammals during the age of the dinosaurs.

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