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Mini Mammal Had Big Implications For Hearing

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 30,747 Galvasean

    A species of chipmunk sized mammal named Maotherium asiaticus which lived in the Liaoning province in China during the Cretaceous period (this time and place is more well known for it's spectacular dino-bird transitional fossils) has revealed much about the evolution of mammalian hearing.
    To evolutionary biologists, an understanding of how the sophisticated and highly sensitive mammalian ear evolved may illuminate how a new and complex structure transforms through evolution. According to the Chinese and American scientists who studied this new mammal, the middle ear bones of Maotherium are partly similar to those of modern mammals; but Maotherium's middle ear has an unusual connection to the lower jaw that is unlike that of adult modern mammals. This middle ear connection, also known as the ossified Meckel's cartilage, resembles the embryonic condition of living mammals and the primitive middle ear of pre-mammalian ancestors.

    Full article here.