170-Million-Year-Old Mouse-Sized Fossil Sheds Light On The Evolution Of Teeth

First Posted: Nov 16, 2015 04:37 PM EST

Researchers have discovered the fossilized remains of a 170-million-year-old mouse-sized mammal, during a hike in Scotland. The mouse-like fossil dates back to the Middle Jurassic and it is revealing new evidence about evolving species, according to a study.

"This new fossil provides a wealth of novel information about an important species of early 'pre-tribosphenic' mammal," Dr. Roger Close, lead author of the study, said in a news release.

The fossils remains depicts the lower jaw bone and belongs to a species of ''stem therian'' mammal called Palaeoxonodon, which was known for its isolated teeth, according to the researchers.

The Palaeoxonodon findings are essential in allowing researchers to understand the evolution of molar teeth in modern mammals. The fossil also revealed evidence about three distinct species, which turned out to be just one species. The fossil also reveals new information on the diversity of the British Middle Jurassic ''stem therians.''

The findings of this study were published in the journal Paleontology.

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