It is a small, furry animal. It walked like a platypus but looked like a shrew! Doesn’t it sound funny? Can such a creature actually exist? Let us leave these queries to the researchers and find out what the Chinese scientists have discovered – a fossil of the peculiar animal. The bizarre find provides important new clues to the evolution of early mammals, the researchers say.
The fossil is found well-preserved in the province of Liaoning in northeast China. It shows a previously unknown species of insect-eating mammal, and it is believed to have lived alongside dinosaurs some 125 million years ago. With a thick coat of fur, the ‘shrew-like’ creature measures four inches (12 centimeters) long and weigh 15 to 20 grams (0.5 to 0.7 ounce).
Paleontologists Gang Li and Zhe-Xi Luo say the animal reveals some unexpectedly primitive features, and that it strengthens Asia’s claim as the site where the main mammal groups originated.