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Mar 20 / Dave Schumaker

New Mammal Discovered from the Mesozoic

Paleontologists have discovered a new species of mammal in China that existed 125 million years ago. Dubbed Yanoconodon allini, the animal was only about 5 inches long. Among the notable finds in this species is a relatively complex middle ear that appears to bridge the gap between later mammals and early organisms related to mammals.

Mammals have highly sensitive hearing, far better than the hearing capacity of all other vertebrates, scientists have found. Consequently, paleontologists and evolutionary biologists have been searching for more than a century for clues to the evolutionary origins of mammal ear structure.

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