October 2, 2022
Brazilian and British paleontologists identify the oldest mammal on Earth in Republika Srpska |  Rio Grande do Sul

Brazilian and British paleontologists identify the oldest mammal on Earth in Republika Srpska | Rio Grande do Sul

A group of Brazilian and British researchers managed to prove these small fossils that were found in Rio Grande do Sul in the early 2000s. They are the oldest mammals on the planet. The discovery was published this Tuesday (6) in The English Journal of Anatomy.

Studies were conducted with dentistry Quadrangular Prazilodonefound in fossil rocks of the Triassic/Norian period, dated to approx 225 million years. The material was initially found in Vaccinal de Sottorno, in the central region of Rio Grande do Sul, and later in other parts of Republika Srpska. Small brazildodopods were only 20 cm long and resemble today’s small rodents.

Paleontologist Sergio Furtado Cabrera, Ph.D. in geology in the Earth Sciences Graduate Program, explains: “The material was found in the early 2000s, but it did not have a firm identity as a mammal, it was created as reptiles, and it was outside the framework of a mammal. “. at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS).

The researcher was guided by Professor Cesar Leandro Schultz, who also signs on to work alongside researchers from different institutions and regions.

Cabrera explains that this animal has been described in the international literature since 2003 by paleontologist Jose Bonaparte, but at that time, “there were no academic tools to analyze animal biology.” Then the researchers devised a new method that consisted of analyzing the teeth of a set of three jaws.

Cabrera explains: “Our research showed, through microscopic analysis of the jaws and teeth, that these young animals do indeed have dentition, that is, only permanent teeth that replace the deciduous teeth.” In this way, it was possible to verify that the replacement of the teeth occurred within a “typical mammary placental pattern,” he explains.

The researcher says that the group began studying the material in 2004 and “over the past few years we’ve added theoretical tools so we can interpret the histological slides.” He pointed out that the animal’s jaw is about 2 cm.

Research analyzed the jaws of animals – Photo: Rochele Zandavalli / UFRGS

According to Cabrera, The discovery changes the paradigm of what was until then understood as the first mammalian characters. “Current methods of classifying what mammals are will have to be modified,” says the researcher, including an academic bibliography on the genetics of the origin of mammals.

“What we’re seeing is that mammals are much older than previously thought,” he says.

UFRGS has a copy of the studied fossils on display in Paleontology Museumwith reconfiguration. The visit is free, but it must be scheduled in case of a group of more than six people.

The Irajá Damiani Pinto Museum of Paleontology is located in Campus do Vale, in the neighborhood of Agronomia, in Porto AlegreOpen daily from 9am to noon and 2pm to 5pm, except on Monday afternoons. On the Museum page, it is also possible to schedule appointments and a virtual tour

brazilodotids were only 20 cm long – Photo: Rochele Zandavalli / UFRGS