Scientists have found new fossils that offer incredible insight about the prehistoric beaver that survived The End of The Dinosaurs, roughly 66 million years ago in harsh conditions impacted by climate change.
The KT event, or what is otherwise known as The End of The Dinosaurs, took place a long, long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and dominated in all corners of our planet. As new theories uncovered, the extinction of the animals was caused by an asteroid impact in New Mexico that aggravated volcanic eruptions in India.
It all happened in the blink of an eye, in geological terms. Over the next 500,000 years, around 75% of all species on Earth were gone. However, it left space for new species to bloom, and mammals began thriving in the post-apocalyptic planet. They were restricted by dinosaurs from truly growing, remaining low on the food chain.
However, with the dominant race gone, it seemed that ‘the meek’ truly did inherit the Earth. Mammals began to thrive in the lush forests, rivers and lakes left behind by the KT event. One of them was the Kimbetopsalis simmonsae, an animal that would have looked like today’s beavers.
Even though it was not categorized as a rodent (like beavers), the fossils uncovered that it presented with buck-toothed incisors at the front of its snouts, which rings familiar. It used them to cut through leaves and branches, suggested to have munched on vegetation. The diet of plants suited their survival in a time when most species were dying out.
It was said to have been a couple of feet in length, and weighed between 22 to 88 pounds. Kimbetopsalis was part of the multituberculates, an extinct group of mammals that disappeared around 35 million years ago. They survived the End of the Dinosaurs era, but later were replaced by more modern species of rodents.
Due to the fact that they were faster and reproduced much more quickly, the rodents were able to supersede Kimbetopsalis.
According to Dr. Thomas Williamson of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and lead author of the study, the new species successfully fills “an important gap in the record of this group of mammals”. It shows just how fast animals could evolve to survive in ruthless conditions.
The dinosaurs ruled the Earth for over 100 million years, but it all turned into chaos within one moment. Kimbetopsalis was among the few to survive the catastrophic events that ultimately changed the course of history and made the world into what it is today. It was one of the creatures that helped bring forward the age of mammals, and, eventually, humans as the dominant species of our planet.
Image source: journalstar.com