Science: A Bygone Shrew

Last week, as if to reinforce Dougal Dixon's point, a team led by Harvard Paleontologist Parish Jenkins Jr. announced a rare discovery from northeastern Arizona: a fossil jaw from a tiny, shrewlike, insect-eating mammal that lived during the early Jurassic period, 180 million years ago. At that time the first small mammals evolved from a kind of mammalian reptile. In evolutionary terms, these creatures bided their time, for 115 million years, until the disappearance of dinosaurs and other reptiles allowed them to evolve thousands of different shapes and sizes. Significantly, the Arizona find...

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