Paleontologists from the University of Portsmouth have found two new fossil teeth pertaining to the Cretaceous rocks of Dorset. They belong to that branch of mammal tree that later evolved as modern mammals including humans.
The discovery points out that the source of modern mammal exists even prior to geological history as reinforced by antecedent fossil discoveries from China. The latest fossils were discovered an undergraduate student, Grant Smith. Dr. Steven Sweetman, a research fellow at the University who led the research said that Grant was filtering through minute samples of earliest Cretaceous rocks gathered on cost of Dorset hoping to find some captivating remains. Grant had the knowledge that he has come across a mammal but did not discern that he might have found something so remarkable.
Unexpectedly, he came across two exceptional teeth. Grant and his supervisor David Martill, the paper’s co-authors, beckoned Sweetman to view the find and provide his opinion. Sweetman said that he was spellbound! It struck him that he was observing remainder of Early Cretaceous mammals.
These teeth hailed from two varied animals, both representatives of the group known as Eutheria: This group entails all modern mammals. They have been named Durlstodon and Durlstotherium, after Durleston Bay in Dorset, where the fossils were gathered.
Mammals have fur, sustain their young on milk and possess intricate specialized teeth. They were roaming the earth in the Triassic around the same time as dinosaurs. They got divided into many different groups during the Jurassic and Cretaceous.