Fossils Then, Fossils Now

Outfoxed the dinosaurs. (Image courtesy University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Outfoxed the dinosaurs.
(Image courtesy University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Meet the plucky little proto-beaver:

While an asteroid impact, earthquakes and volcanoes wiped out much of life on earth, one survivor apparently emerged, a furry, buck-toothed creature science has dubbed Kimbetopsalis simmonsae.

Identified from fossils, the new species was a member of a group of mammals known as multituberculates, named for the many cusps, or tubercles, found on their teeth.

The rodent-like animals lived alongside the dinosaurs, but unlike the doomed reptilian giants, they managed to live for another 30 million years after the asteroid that pushed the dinosaurs off the evolutionary stage.

What was bad for the dinosaurs proved a boon to Kimbetopsalis, researchers explain.

After the asteroid impact pushed many species to extinction, “all this ecological space became available and the mammals went a bit nuts,” says University of Edinburgh paleontologist Sarah Shelley, co-author of a published study on the discovery.

Imagine how nuts we human-mammals will go once the lefty dinosaurs trying to run everything finally die off.