sciencehabit writes: The ancestor of all placental mammals—the diverse lineage that includes almost all species of mammals living today, including humans—was a tiny, furry-tailed creature that evolved shortly after the dinosaurs disappeared, a new study suggests. The hypothetical creature, not found in the fossil record but inferred from it, probably was a tree-climbing, insect-eating mammal that weighed between 6 and 245 grams—somewhere between a small shrew and a mid-sized rat. It was furry, had a long tail, gave birth to a single young, and had a complex brain with a large lobe for interpreting smells and a corpus callosum, the bundle of nerve fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The period following the dinosaur die-offs could be considered a "big bang" of mammalian diversification, with species representing as many as 10 major groups of placentals appearing within a 200,000-year interval.
"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers."
-- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a
particularly vivid fantasy)