Monday, December 17, 2012


Yesterday I finally had a chance to see Extreme Mammals at Chicago's Field Museum. (It closes January 6th, so if you're interested, go now!) One of the very first thing that you come across is a display of both the largest land animal ever (Indricotherium), as well as the smallest.

Batodonoides is that very creature-- the smallest mammal ever discovered. This itty bitty, tiny little shrew-like critter lived during the Eocene between 53 and 42 million years ago. It was so small that is weighed less than a dollar bill and could comfortably sit on the top of a pencil!

There are three species within the genus, the first of which was discovered back in 1976. All have been found in the western United States. The smallest of the three, B. vanhouteni, is also the oldest-- it dates back 53 million years and weighed less than 2 grams!

Of course, we still have tiny mammals today. The smallest still alive, the Bumblebee Bat, is only a hair bit larger than these Eocene shrews.

Status : Extinct for 42 million years
Location : United States
Size : Weight up to 2g
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Insectivora
Family : Geolabididae -- Genus : Batodonoides

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