EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

February 10, 2013

Hypothetical ancestor causes an evolutionary stir

(Continued)

“The placental ancestor was a scampering species that had a diet of insects, a fleshy nose, a light underbelly in its fur, and a long tail,” wrote study co-author Maureen O’Leary, a paleontologist at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y. “It was larger than a mouse, but smaller than a rat.”

Not everyone has fallen in love with the furry, hypothetical bug eater however, and discussion is likely to continue for some time as to when placental mammals began to proliferate.

“The bottom line is that this study is not convincing and will not settle the debate,” said Mark Springer, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Riverside, who was not involved in the study. “In contrast to what is reported by authors, the most fascinating result from this study is the tremendous amount of incongruence between the morphological and molecular data.”

Study co-author Novaceck said he did not expect the paper to end discussion, but he did say he hoped it would add weight to an ongoing argument.

Another debate involves the creatures name, and whether it deserves a less cumbersome moniker.

“People who think this organism is cute have asked me for a name,” Novacek said. “I tell them we can’t give it a Latin name, because it never really existed. It doesn’t have a nickname either. It’s just the hypothetical placental mammal ancestor.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Former Va. Governor's Corruption Trial Begins Trial Begins Over OKC Bombing Video $15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Maine Police Investigate Deaths of Family of 5 UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage US Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Clashes Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Obama Asks Central American Leaders for Help Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma
Latest World News
Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Today in History for July 28th Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Today in History for July 27th Thousands at Peace Rally in Tel Aviv Raw: Sirens After Explosions in Israel Video Shows Smiling American Bomber in Syria Raw: Planes With MH17 Victims Land in Eindhoven Kerry Lays Out Ceasefire Goals for Gaza Family of MH17 Victim Pay Respects at Crash Site US Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Clashes Raw: Tanks Patrol Gaza Streets During Ceasefire Raw: Residents Come Home to Rubble in Gaza 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Today in History for July 26th
Photos of the Week