Friday, January 27, 2012


Meet some of the very first mammal-like creatures, members of the genus Morganucodon. Fossils of these tiny rodent-resembling animals have been found across Europe, Asia, and North America.

Morganucodon is named for Glamorgan, Wales, where it was first discovered in 1941. The remains date back over 200 million years, to the late Triassic period! For some perspective, that is over 100 million years before T-Rex even showed up!

Members of the genus are so interesting because they have both mammalian and reptilian characteristics, though they are classified as mammals. They have hair and teeth like mammals, but their lower jaw is reptilian. They also laid eggs and had venomous spurred feet like modern Platypuses do! Morganucodon ate insects and was most likely nocturnal, based on the eye size.

Status : Extinct for 200 million years
Location : Europe, Asia, North America
Size : Body Length around 4in (10cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Morganucodonta
Family : Morganucodontidae -- Genus : Morganucodon

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