Show Details

Fanged Furball

July 14, 2017

Paleontologists have discovered a tiny mammal from the age of the dinosaurs that sported tusks.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

An ancient fanged furball. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

One of the main characters in the film “Ice Age” is Scrat, a saber-toothed squirrel. Fanged squirrels didn’t really exist in prehistoric times. But scientists say fossils do exists of an animal that probably looked remarkably similar to the scrappy rodent. University of Louisville paleontologist Guillermo Rougier writes in Nature that the tiny fanged mammal lived nearly 100 million years ago in a part of South America that teemed with dinosaurs.

GULLIERMO ROUGIER (University of Louisville):

The shape of the teeth on this new animal called cronopio is very peculiar, with a skull two very large tusks out of proportion for anything that we know.

HIRSHON:

Rougier says the creature, which pre-dated the first rodents by more than 30 million years, probably used its fangs to grab onto and puncture insects. It has no living descendents today. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Science Update staff