New fossils study sheds light on origins of carnivorous mammals

Washington, January 7: New study in fossils from Belgium has shed light on the origin of some of the most well-known, and well-loved, modern mammals.

The study has traced the ancestry of cats and dogs, as well as other carnivorous mammals, taxonomically called ‘carnivoraformes’ to primitive carnivorous mammals dating back to 55 million years ago, which is the beginning of the time period called the Eocene.

The new specimens found by lead author Floreal Sole and his colleagues include over 250 teeth and ankle bones, and even deciduous teeth, which proves that Dormaalocyon is close to the origin of carnivoraforms, and that their origin may have been in Europe.

The ankle bones suggest that Dormaalocyon was arboreal, living and moving through the trees and Dr. Sole believes that the fact that they made their way to North America supports the existence of a continuous evergreen forest belt at high latitudes during the PETM.

The study allows better understanding of the origination, variability and ecology of the earliest carnivoreforms.

The study was published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. (ANI)