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Denver Museum of Nature and Science researchers discover 65-million-year-old mammal in Colorado Springs area

Researchers discover 65-million-year-old mammal near Colorado Springs
Researchers discover 65-million-year-old mammal near Colorado Springs 00:37

It's a discovery 65 million years in the making. Researchers at Denver Museum of Nature and Science discovered a new mammal species in Corral Bluffs east of Colorado Springs. 

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

What makes the discovery of this new mammal so important to academics is the fossil dates back to right after dinosaurs went extinct. Since a complete skull and jaw of the species named Militocodon lydae was found, it gives researchers important clues to what they are calling an "explosive diversification in the wake of the dinosaur extinction."

"Rocks from this interval of time have a notoriously poor fossil record and the discovery and description of a fossil mammal skull is an important step forward in documenting the earliest diversification of mammals after Earth's last mass extinction," said Dr. Tyler Lyson, Museum Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology.    

Earth Sciences fieldwork, Denver Basin, Corral Bluffs site near Colorado Springs. L-R: Bryce Snellgrove; Sharon Milito; Tyler Lyson. Richard M Wicker

The overall revival of life after dinosaurs remains mostly unknown to zooarcheologists with a lack of fossils from that time period. With the discovery of the Militocodon lydae, which is about the size of a chinchilla, researchers learned it is part of a group of animals that then became modern hooved mammals like cows, pigs and deer.

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