Navigation Links
Researchers give name to ancient mystery creature

For the first time, researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada have been able to put a name and a description to an ancient mammal that still defies classification.

The findings, published recently in the Journal of Paleontology provide the first and only comprehensive account of the creature, named Horolodectes sunae, for the unusual shape of the crowns of the teeth. Horolodectes lived about 60 million years ago, soon after the dinosaurs went extinct, in a period known for its rapid diversification of small mammals. Based on careful examination of tooth and jaw fragments that have been unearthed over the past 30 years, the University of Alberta researchers have now determined Horolodectes was a small fur-bearing animal that measured 10 centimetres in length and due to its powerful jaws, likely had a strong bite.

Most confounding are the animal's teeth, which resemble in superficial ways, those of primitive relatives of ungulates, the group of mammals which includes horses and cows. But despite that link to ungulates, which are traditionally herbivores, Horolodectes was thought to have dined on small insects and grubs. "It had sharp crests on the teeth which formed blades, indicating it was likely carnivorous," said Craig Scott, a PhD candidate and lead author of the study. Horolodectes means 'hourglass biter', in reference to the creature's peculiar hourglass-shaped pre-molars, the teeth between the canine and the molars. The very tall, sharp pre-molars are unlike any others so far discovered in the mammal world. "There is nothing else with teeth quite like it," Craig said.

"In an area of North America that's been fairly well studied, it's unusual to have a critter like this pop up. It's not known anywhere else, just in Alberta. And it's quite distinct. There's no mistaking it," Scott said.

The first dental specimens of the creature were unearthed by University of Alberta paleontologists 30 years ago from the ba nks of the Blindman River in Alberta, Canada. About 10 years ago, more teeth were discovered at a dig site near Drayton Valley and on the banks of the Blindman. But the creature mystified the researchers, who could not positively identify it, and exactly where it fits into the evolutionary ladder is still unknown. Horolodectes remains an enigma to this day.

"It's just too bizarre to place in any group that we've known about previously," said Scott. "It's an open question until we can find more of it. We have no information from a skull or other parts of the body."


'"/>

Source:University of Alberta


Related biology news :

1. Researchers discover way to make cells in the eye sensitive to light
2. Researchers find how protein allows insects to detect and respond to pheromones
3. Researchers Uncover Key Step In Manufacture of Memory Protein
4. Researchers reveal the infectious impact of salmon farms on wild salmon
5. Researchers identify target for cancer drugs
6. Researchers discover molecule that causes secondary stroke
7. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
8. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
9. Researchers add new tool to tumor-treatment arsenal
10. UF Researchers Map Bacterial Proteins That Cause Tooth Loss
11. VCU Researchers Identify Networks Of Genes Responding To Alcohol In The Brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:1/22/2016)... DUBLIN , Jan. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "Global Biometrics Market in ... offering. --> Research and ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... 2016 A market that just keeps on ... the explosion in genomics knowledge. Learn all about it ... range of dynamic trends are pushing market growth and ... - pharmacogenomics - pathogen evolution - next generation sequencing ... greater understanding of the role of genetic material in ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... 2016  Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... announced sampling of S1423, its newest ClearPad ® ... screen applications including smartwatches, fitness trackers, and touch ... rectangular shapes, as well as thick and curved ... on screen, while wearing gloves, and supports swipes ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... ... Global Stem Cells Group has announced an inaugural conference and stem cell ... 24-March 6, 2016. The new facility will provide advanced protocols and state-of-the-art techniques in ... CEO Benito Novas will host the event, which will begin with a stem cell ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... FRANCISCO , February 12, 2016 ... Medicine Efforts by Enabling Scientific Understanding of Complex ... and Rare Diseases --> ... genomic diagnostics in South Asia and a leading provider ... would contribute $10 million to the GenomeAsia 100K ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 11, 2016  Bioethics International, ... how medicines are researched, developed, marketed and made accessible to ... BMJ Open had named the publication of the ... for 2015. The publication is also featured as one of ... published in the last year that are most frequently read. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... February 11, 2016 ... or "Company") (OTCQB: PSID), a life sciences company ... its Thermomedics subsidiary, which markets the Caregiver® FDA-cleared ... plan in January 2016, including entering into agreements ... monthly sales growth, and establishing several near-term pipeline ...
Breaking Biology Technology: