Oldest mammal fossil ever discovered is identified in Brazil

The new oldest mammal in the world is Brazilian. This Tuesday, 6th, the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) released the identification of the species Brasilodon quadrangulariswhich lived about 225 million years ago.

The study was carried out with researchers from UFRGS and other institutions, including the Natural History Museum in London. The article describing the species was published in the English journal Journal of Anatomy, which lists zoology discoveries since 1867.

O b. quadrangularis has been known for a long time: the first fossil was discovered in the 19th century. Previously, however, scientists thought it was a reptile. In 2004, studies began that led to the reclassification of the species as a mammal.

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This was because technological advances made it possible to better evaluate the discovered specimens. According to paleontologist Sergio Furtado Cabreira, one of the authors of the article, the differentiation between the classes of reptiles and mammals that made it possible to update the category of the b. quadrangularis it’s at microscopic formations of teeth.

Reptiles have a set of teeth that can be replaced several times throughout their lives, a feature called polyphiodontics. In this case, the structures are replaced every few months.

Most mammals, however, have diphodontia: teeth are replaced only once in a lifetime. this was the feature used to reclassify O b. quadrangularis.

B. quadrangularis was a small mammal covered in fur, which hunted primarily at night. Their main prey were insects and small reptiles. According to scientists, it is likely that they lived in burrows, where the chicks remained until adulthood.

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