October 18, 2006 | David F. Coppedge

Wanted Dead or Alive: New Mammals

Do we know all our fellow mammals?  Further research has uncovered new furry creatures, fur sure.  Furthermore, some are dead and some are alive and well:

  • Weird Tooth:  An “ancient mammal that defies classification” has been given a name, at least.  EurekAlert reported that Horolodectes sunae, found 30 years ago in Alberta, remains a mystery: “the creature mystified the researchers, who could not positively identify it, and exactly where it fits into the evolutionary ladder is still unknownHorolodectes remains an enigma to this day.
  • Dwarf Hoof:  A previously unknown dwarf water buffalo was found by chance in the Philippines, reported EurekAlert.  The Field Museum points to this as a classic case of “island dwarfing,” in which natural selection produces smaller species due to limitations on resources in isolated environments.  See also the New York Times and Science Daily reports.
  • Super Camel:  A fossilized camel, twice as big as today’s models and as big as a giraffe or elephant, was found in Syria, according to the BBC News.  They think this previously-unknown species may have been living 100,000 years ago – maybe even a million.  “It was not known that the dromedary was present in the Middle East more than 10,000 years ago,” said one paleontologist.  This biggie had competition: “It may even have been killed by humans, who were living at the once water-rich site during the same period.”
  • Mighty Mouse:  For a story about a mammal still wearing its fur, BBC News reported a “living fossil” rodent on Cyprus.  Mus cypriacus was thought to have gone extinct an estimated 9-10,000 years ago when humans arrived on the Mediterranean island.  It was thought that every species of mammal in Europe had been identified.  Apparently giant camels couldn’t stand up to human hunters, but humans never did build the ultimate mousetrap.

“Living fossil” is the opposite of “Fossilized liver.”  Are you pretending to be alive, when your soul is dead?  Better to be a living fossil than a fossilized liver.  Live to the fullest while you can, before you become a dead fossil.  Solomon said, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).  You might want to check out this entry next.

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Categories: Fossils, Mammals

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