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Fossil of pregnant fish found: the earliest mammal

German news Heute.de is reporting a story in Nature magazine about the recent discovery of the oldest mammal named Materpiscis attenboroughi (a type of Placodermi). Researchers from Australia found a fossil of this fish containing several embryos connected to their mother by an umbilical cord, making it the earliest known mammal. The fossil is estimated to be 380 million years old. This is older than the dinosaurs (which existed roughly 230 million to 65 million years ago).

oldest mammal.jpg

oldest mouse.jpgThis discovery suggests that mammals existed far earlier than it was previously thought. The earliest mammal previous to this new discovery was a small mouse-like creature known as Hadrocodium Wui discovered in China by Zhe-Xi Luo, Alfred W. Crompton and Ai-Lin Sun. This creature lived roughly 195 million years ago.

Lead research John Long of the Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia says that this new discovery means that the current models of evolution need to be adjusted significantly.

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