In schools we are taught that humans originated from apes, but a recent discovery of two 145-million-year-old new eutherian species suggest that homo sapiens lineage comes from rats, suggests a new study.
The fossils discovered on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset is believed to be remains of the oldest mammals. The two teeth are from small, rat-like creatures that lived 145 million years ago in the shadow of the dinosaurs.
The study was detailed in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica by the scientists and made online on November 7.
Grant Smith, a undergraduate student of the University of Portsmouth, who made the discovery said that the discovery is undisputedly the earliest fossils of mammals belonging to the line that led to humans. “These rodents are also ancestors to maximum living mammals including blue whale,” added Smith.
Study lead author Steven Sweetman, a paleontologist at the University of Portsmouth in England, in a statement said, “Smith found not one but two quite remarkable teeth of a type never before seen from rocks of this age. The discovered fossils are definitely the oldest eutherians known yet in the fossil record. The teeth are highly evolved. As soon as I saw them I realised straight away I was looking at remains of Early Cretaceous mammals. ”
The scientists have named the species as Durlstotheriunm newmani and Durlstodon ensomi. The researchers said Durlstotherium was likely about the size of a mouse, while Durlstodon was as big as a juvenile rat. The teeth are highly advanced type which can pierce, cut and crush food.
“The discovered teeths are also very worn, which suggests the rodents lived to a good age for their species,” added Sweetman.
According to the researchers both the creatures were likely nocturnal. Durlstotherium fed on insects and Durlstodon ate plants. The duo animals lived in Mediterranean type climate.