Navigation Links
Not the end of the world: Why Earth's greatest mass extinction was the making of modern mammals
Date:8/28/2013

The first mammals arose in the Triassic period, over 225 million years ago. These early furballs include small shrew-like animals such as Morganucodon from England, Megazostrodon from South Africa, and Bienotherium from China.

They had differentiated teeth (incisors, canines, molars) and large brains and were probably warm-blooded and covered in fur all characteristics that make them stand apart from their reptile ancestors, and which contribute to their huge success today.

However, new research from the University of Lincoln, the National Museum in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and the University of Bristol suggests that this array of unique features arose step-wise over a long span of time, and that the first mammals may have arisen as a result of the end-Permian mass extinction which wiped out 90 per cent of marine organisms and 70 per cent of terrestrial species.

Dr Marcello Ruta of the University of Lincoln, lead author of the study, said: "Mass extinctions are seen as entirely negative. However, in this case, cynodont therapsids, which included a very small number of species before the extinction, really took off afterwards and was able to adapt to fill many very different niches in the Triassic from carnivores to herbivores."

Co-author Dr Jennifer Botha-Brink of the National Museum in Bloemfontein, South Africa said: "During the Triassic, the cynodonts split into two groups, the cynognathians and the probainognathians. The first were mainly plant-eaters, the second mainly flesh-eaters, and the two groups seemed to rise and fall at random, first one expanding, and then the other. In the end, the probainognathians became the most diverse and most varied in adaptations, and they gave rise to the first mammals some 25 million years after the mass extinction."

Co-author Professor Michael Benton of the University of Bristol said: "We saw that when a major group, such as cynodonts, diversifies it is the body shape or range of adaptations that expands first. The diversity, or number of species, rises after all the morphologies available to the group have been tried out."

The researchers concluded that cynodont diversity rose steadily during the recovery of life following the mass extinction with their range of form rising rapidly at first before hitting a plateau. This suggests there is no particular difference in morphological diversity between the very first mammals and their immediate cynodont predecessors.


'/>"/>

Contact: Hannah Johnson
hannah.johnson@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-928-8896
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Water resources management and policy in a changing world: Where do we go from here?
2. Entering an Unseen World: A Founding Laboratory and Origins of Modern Cell Biology 1910-1974
3. Research unearths new dinosaur species
4. Geosphere features top geoscience technology, including LiDAR, EarthScope, CHIRP, ALSM, and IODP
5. Chapman University unearths data in animal habitat selection that counters current convention
6. WHOI researchers, collaborators receive $1.4 million grant to study life in oceans greatest depths
7. Pollen can protect mahogany from extinction
8. Global effort launched to save turtles from extinction
9. First mass extinction linked to marine anoxia
10. University of Toronto biologists predict extinction for organisms with poor quality genes
11. 24 new species of lizards discovered on Caribbean islands are close to extinction
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/6/2017)... Jan. 6, 2017  Privately-held CalciMedica, Inc., announced ... healthy volunteers of a novel calcium release-activated calcium ... pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis, sudden painful ... disorder, but can be very serious.  In severe cases ... where extended hospital stays, time in the ICU ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... -- Delta ID Inc., a leader in consumer-grade iris scanning ... CES® 2017. Delta ID has collaborated with Gentex Corporation ... of iris scanning as a secure, reliable and convenient ... car, and as a way to elevate the security ... ID and Gentex will demonstrate (booth #7326 LVCC) a ...
(Date:1/4/2017)... , Jan. 4, 2017  CES 2017 – ... sensor technology, today announced the launch of two ... systems, the highly-accurate biometric sensor modules that incorporate ... technology, experience and expertise. The two new designs ... specifically for hearables, and Benchmark BW2.0, a 2-LED ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/21/2017)... , Jan. 21, 2017   Boston Biomedical ... compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, today presented ... compound, napabucasin, at the 2017 American Society of Clinical ... Francisco . In a Phase ... agent designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... Ginkgo Bioworks, the organism company, announced ... the synthesis and assembly of DNA. The acquisition ... synthetic DNA into Ginkgo,s automated organism engineering foundries, ... of new organism designs for application across a ... founded to significantly increase the world,s capacity to ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan 19, 2017 Research and Markets ... Profiling Technology, Biomolecules, Cancer Type, Application - Global Opportunity Analysis and ... ... that the global market is projected to reach $15,737 million by ... from 2016 to 2022. Omic technologies segment accounted ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Jan. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire -- WuXi AppTec, a ... capability and technology platform, today announced that it ... focused preclinical drug discovery contract research organization (CRO). ... a wholly-owned subsidiary of WuXi, and will continue ... providing greater services. The acquisition will further strengthen ...
Breaking Biology Technology: