66-million-year-old Fossil of ‘Crazy Beast’ Mammal Unearthed in Madagascar Stuns Scientists with Its Unique Characteristics

The first near-complete skeleton of a bizarre mammal that lived on the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana has been discovered in Madagascar, scientists announced in a study published Wednesday.

Adalatherium Plaster Jacket

The 66-million-year-old, opossum-size fossil represents a new species, which the study authors have named “Adalatherium hui,” from a Malagasy word meaning “crazy” and the Greek word for “beast.”

Mammal fossil from age of dinosaurs found in Madagascar

The skeleton is the most complete for any Mesozoic mammal yet discovered in the Southern Hemisphere. The mammal’s relatively large size is an oddball for its era, scientists say, since most at that time were about the size of a mouse.

Two paleontologists unearth fossilized bones in the Valley of Las Chinas, in the Chilean Patagonia, Chile, Feb. 25, 2020. (EPA Photo)

“Knowing what we know about the skeletal anatomy of all living and extinct mammals, it is difficult to imagine that a mammal like Adalatherium could have evolved; it bends and even breaks a lot of rules,” said study lead author David Krause, a curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Adalatherium hui | TBR News Media

“We suspect some of this bizarreness might be due to evolution in isolation on an island,” Simone Hoffmann, New York Institute of Technology paleontologist and study co-author, told Reuters.

Skeleton of a Cretaceous mammal from Madagascar reflects long-term insularity | Nature

Hoffmann added that “Adalatherium is the oddest of oddballs. Trying to figure out how it moved is nearly impossible because, for instance, its front end is telling us a different story than its back end.”

Researchers are still uncovering clues but think that, although Adalatherium might have been a powerful digging animal, it was also capable of running and potentially even had other forms of locomotion.

“Adalatherium is just one piece, but an important piece, in a very large puzzle on early mammalian evolution in the Southern Hemisphere,” Krause noted.

Year of the Dragon — Life of our Prehistoric Planet: Adalatherium hui.

Although the creature itself was a plant-eater, it was also food for a variety of big meat-eating dinosaurs and crocodiles as well as a giant snake.

The “crazy beast” belongs to an extinct group of mammals called gondwanatherians because they are known only from the ancient southern supercontinent of Gondwana.

Gondwanatherians were first thought to be related to modern-day sloths, anteaters and armadillos but “now are known to have been part of a grand evolutionary experiment, doing their own thing, an experiment that failed and was snuffed out in the Eocene, about 45 million years ago,” Krause explained.

Sia

Related Posts

Monumental Fossil Find: Surrey Brick Factory Reveals Enormous 132-Million-Year-Old Iguanodon, Redefining History with Astounding Unveiling

The creature, nicknamed Indie, is thought to be an Iguanodon – a herbivore which could grow to the size of an African elephant and run at 14mph…

Unearthed Wonder: Surrey Brick Factory Reveals Enormous 132-Million-Year-Old Iguanodon, Redefining History with Astounding Fossil Find

The creature, nicknamed Indie, is thought to be an Iguanodon – a herbivore which could grow to the size of an African elephant and run at 14mph…

Couple’s Google Earth Discovery Leads to UK’s Largest Collection of Rare Marine Fossils Ever Found

A pair of amateur fossil hunters have discovered one of the largest collections of rare marine fossils found anywhere in the UK. The couple spotted a tiny…

Couple Utilizes Google Earth to Unearth UK’s Largest Collection of Rare Marine Fossils

A pair of amateur fossil hunters have discovered one of the largest collections of rare marine fossils found anywhere in the UK. The couple spotted a tiny…

Hupehsuchus nanchangensis: Unveiling a Peculiar Ichthyosauromorph from Early Triassic China

A combined team of paleontologists and geoscientists from China University of Geosciences and Hubei Geological Bureau, both in China, working with a colleague from the University of…

Strange Creature Unveiled: Hupehsuchus nanchangensis, a Peculiar Ichthyosauromorph from Early Triassic China

A combined team of paleontologists and geoscientists from China University of Geosciences and Hubei Geological Bureau, both in China, working with a colleague from the University of…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *